Chapter 9. Lebanon’s performance against Open Government Partnership minimum eligibility criteria

To join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), governments commit to upholding the principles of open and transparent government by endorsing the Open Government Declaration. Members must also meet the eligibility criteria and pass the OGP values check. Prior to submitting the first action plan, OGP members should identify responsible government departments and engage with civil society for a clear and open process of participation.1 Aspiring OGP members need to obtain 12 out of 16 possible points, according to the OGP minimum eligibility criteria,2 in order to join the OGP. Lebanon currently has 8 points, as noted in Table 9.1.

As noted above, Lebanon approved the Law on the Right of Access to Information in January 2017, which affords a score of 4/4 points. Regarding budget transparency, two points are awarded for the publication of two essential documents for open budgets: the executive budget proposal and audit report. This criteria uses a subset indicator from the Open Budget Index, conducted by the International Budget Partnership, which covers 100 countries. Latest research shows that Lebanon has 0 points as it has not published the most recent versions of the executive budget proposal and the audit report.

Regarding disclosures related to elected or senior public officials, an updated Law on Asset and Interest Declaration and the Fight against Illicit Enrichment was adopted on 30 September 2020, which further specifics the scope and obligations related to asset disclosures of public officials; however as of writing, , the declarations are not published or made public. Lebanon therefore scores 2 out of 4 in this category and should consider the public disclosure of assets and a system to verify the accuracy of declarations to enhance its effectiveness.

Lebanon’s score regarding citizen participation is due to the country’s position in the sub indicator on civil liberties of the Economist Intelligent Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index. Lebanon scored 4.71/10 in this Civil Liberty indicator of the EIU Democracy Index 2019 which leads to an OGP score of 2/4 points.

Following a decision of the OGP’s steering committee on 20 September 2017, countries must also pass a values check assessment, in addition to the abovementioned eligibility criteria, before they are allowed to participate in the OGP. To pass the values check, countries must score three or higher in at least one of the following V-Dem indicators:

  1. o Civil society organisation (CSO) entry and exit: Measures the extent to which the government achieves control over entry and exit by CSOs into public life.

  2. o CSO repression: Measures the extent to which the government attempts to repress CSOs.

Lebanon currently scores 3 for CSO entry and exit and 3 for CSO repression according to the 2019 V-Dem survey, and as a result, passes the OGP value check.

  1. To improve the budget transparency score, consider publishing executive budget proposals and audit reports for recent years, and continue publishing them on an annual basis.

  2. To improve scores related to disclosures of elected or senior public officials, consider the public disclosure of assets and a system to verify the accuracy of the declarations.

  3. To improve the citizen participation score, additional focus could be placed on the implementation of ongoing open government reforms to improve the results of indices measuring civil liberties, CSO entry and exit, and CSO repression.

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