Beirut, 26 April 2021 – 21 years after its inception, the Directorate General of Local Administrations and Councils (DGLAC), a directorate at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM), aims to introduce a new mission, vision, and roadmap to strengthen its responsiveness and support to more than 1,000 municipalities and 50 union of municipalities. DGLAC’s leadership is engaging on a new path to bolster its backstopping role for local authorities in line with the principles of efficiency, accountability, and citizen-centricity.
A thorough review of the challenges facing DGLAC showed that understaffing, underfunding, limited use of Information Technology (IT), and organizational constraints were directly correlated with the political and financial environment affecting the Lebanese civil service at large. However, the review also showed strong technical expertise and know-how among DGLAC staff.
“When I started working at the General Directorate of Local Administrations and Councils, the administration was working in a traditional, routine-like manner that executed transactions without a proactive strategic role in supporting municipalities towards good governance under the guidance of the Ministry” said Eng. Ahmad Rajab, DGLAC’s Acting Director General, during an online conference held on Monday 26 April 2021.
He added: “We started working on identifying weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and challenges at the General Directorate. With the support of the Municipal Empowerment and Resilience Project (MERP), we are getting closer to what we aspire to do”, noting that “MERP project aims to build the resilience of Lebanese municipalities and host communities affected by the refugee crisis by channeling the expertise available at DGLAC”.
With the support of MoIM, the review of DGLAC’s operating environment and structure was funded by the European Union (EU) through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, “Madad Fund”, and supported by MERP, a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Based on extensive interviews, a survey, and a series of workshops with municipal officials and mukhtars, a comprehensive strategy and an implementation roadmap were formulated to provide DGLAC with forward-looking recommendations to play its vital role and provide local authorities with needed assistance.
“As part of the recommendations, DGLAC will boost its support to municipalities through organizational development and change management which includes capacity building for DGLAC staff”, said Marija De Wijn, MERP’s Chief Technical Advisor. “This includes training on citizen-centric service provision, public communication, municipal laws and e-government”.
“In line with EU-Lebanon Partnership Priorities, the EU increasingly pays attention to deprived areas, including by empowering municipalities and unions of municipalities within the context of compounded crises in Lebanon that directly affect local authorities”, said Gianandrea Villa, Local Governance Officer at the EU Delegation in Lebanon. “Through the European Union Trust Fund, the EU has increased support to regions affected by the refugee crises through multisector programmes. The selected local authorities have been determined in coordination with Lebanese authorities, mainly the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities and in particular DGLAC which is currently supported by MERP to enhance its coordination role.”
With the support of additional development partners, DGLAC aims to leverage the power of technology to generate municipal data that supports technical assistance to municipalities and unions and strengthens service responsiveness according to local needs. This constitutes a steppingstone towards evidence-based policy research on local governance and greater awareness about the role and functions of DLGAC and municipalities.
As a next step, MERP will support the DGLAC in capacity development and training and provide support in engagement with and outreach to municipalities, in line with DGLAC’s new mission and vision. MERP will also support the DGLAC in fundraising with development partners to operationalize the priorities identified in the review.
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Note to editors
About the Directorate General of Local Administrations and Councils
The Directorate General of Local Administration and Councils (DGLAC) fulfils the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) municipal support function as stipulated in the 1977 Municipal Act and its amendments. By law, MoIM is mandated with the provision of administrative control and oversight over unions of municipalities and municipalities. The DGLAC plays a crucial role in supporting the ministry in this mandate and therefore supporting capacity-building, and evidence-based planning for municipalities and unions of municipalities, also known as “local administrations” or local authorities. The main provisions regulating the DGLAC’s mission are also outlined in Art. 28–43 of Decree No. 4082, issued on 14 October 2000 organizing the MoIM.
About the Municipal Empowerment and Resilience Project (MERP)
MERP is a joint project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The Project is being implemented between 2019 and 2022 in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and funded by the European Union (EU), through its Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU “Madad Fund”. The project aims to strengthen the long-term resilience of subnational authorities in Lebanon as well as host communities and displaced persons affected by the Syrian crisis. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3hBveux
About the European Union (EU)
The European Union supports Lebanon’s stability, independence and sovereignty, its prosperity and democratic order. It strives also to help protect its environment and natural resources by supporting sustainable enterprise and development. The European Union is also committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in Lebanon including defending gender equality, children’s rights and freedom of expression.
The EU Delegation in Lebanon represents the European Union to the Republic of Lebanon with the objective to maintain and develop mutual beneficial relations. It engages in political, social and economic development activities on behalf of the European Union and based on the most pressing needs of the country of Lebanon.
Learn more on the work of the EU in Lebanon at https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/lebanon_en or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EUinLebanon
Learn more on the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU Madad Fund, at https://ec.europa.eu/trustfund-syria-region/index_en or follow on Twitter at @EU_NEAR, on Facebook at EU Neighbourhood & Enlargement and on Instagram at EU_NEAR
About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.
Learn more at www.lb.undp.org or follow on Twitter at @UNDP_Lebanon, on Facebook at UNDP Lebanon and on Instagram at UNDP_Lebanon
About the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Learn more at www.unhabitat.org/lebanon or follow on Twitter at @UNHabitatLB, on Facebook at UN-Habitat Lebanon and on Instagram at UNHabitatLB