Executive summary

Technological advances provide a path to unlocking greater and more sustainable economic growth and development. At the same time, they have a profound impact on society – affecting the way people interact, transact and relate to each other and devices. Governments have a responsibility to strategically manage the innovation, deployment and use of digital technologies and data with systemic thinking and agile approaches. They must consider the range and depth of policy interventions required, and the new approaches needed to design and deliver public policies and services in the digital age in ways that fit the changing expectations of citizens and businesses. This is fundamental where governments need to prove their resilience and agility while responding to critical situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government of Lebanon understands the value of digital government as a way to champion a more efficient, innovative, open, transparent, inclusive, engaging and sustainable public sector that delivers greater value through its policies and services. This was demonstrated by its long experience in strategising the transition from e-government to digital government, strong political will to commit to the digital transformation of the public sector and a broad national consensus on the merits of digital government. The Government of Lebanon also acknowledges the need to develop new ways to interact with its citizens and businesses and build economic and social value through improved digital collaboration in its move towards digital government.

The Government of Lebanon's current digital transformation draft strategy and action plan – the Lebanon Digital Transformation: Strategies to Action (2020-2030) Volume 1 – illustrates the government's dedication to the digital development of the country and involves the administration, private sector and civil society stakeholders. However, given the political, economic and social instability, chronic problems of siloed and uncoordinated policy efforts, as well as different levels of digital maturity across the administration, several previous transformation attempts have not been successful and originated some observable reform fatigue in the country. Therefore, securing an effective implementation of this digital transformation draft strategy is a critical challenge for the Government of Lebanon. Achieving a successful digital transformation of the government and public sector requires institutional cohesion and horizontal co-operation. The transformation is also dependent on other critical variables such as permanent political support, a clear and solid institutional mandate, key co-ordination mechanisms and strategic policy levers. Strong leadership will ensure that the action plan is carefully co-ordinated and strategically integrated across policy agendas and public sector organisations. A reinforced governance structure will ensure the effective execution of the policies across the public sector. Strengthening the leadership and mandate of the Office of the Minister of State of Administrative Reform (OMSAR) in the execution and co-ordination of the digital transformation action plan will be another positive step in this direction.

The Government of Lebanon's ability to use digital technologies to modernise its public sector and facilitate a more homogenous and sustainable distribution of development across the public administration requires the institutional capacity and policy levers to identify, prepare, co-ordinate and track information and communication technology (ICT) investments. With a better understanding of the needs of its citizens, businesses and public servants, the Government of Lebanon will be in a better position to adopt and implement a strategic approach that defines common standards and embeds a user and data-driven culture throughout the public sector.

  • Strengthen OMSAR’s role in charge of executing the digital transformation draft strategy and supervising Digital Transformation Units (DTUs) across the administration, by clarifying its leadership, responsibilities and co-ordinating role of digital government policies.

  • Explore the creation of a new public sector organisation under OMSAR with an operational mandate to digitally transform the public sector, such as the Lebanese Digital Agency foreseen in the digital transformation draft strategy, if alternatives, such as reinforcing the mandate and capacities of OMSAR, are considered insufficient.

  • Consider establishing a lead function like a national chief information officer at OMSAR with an official mandate to secure strong oversight and accountability of decisions.

  • Explore the creation of chief data officers and chief security officers in OMSAR and other public sector organisations to ensure the smooth adoption of digital government initiatives across the public sector, and co-ordinate and enforce data and cyber security policies.

  • Encourage greater involvement from the ecosystem of digital government stakeholders within the public sector for better policy alignment and value creation through coherent and sustainable policy implementation, shared ownership and responsibility in the development of a digitally enabled state.

  • Reinforce user-driven thinking, innovation and awareness of new technological developments so the digital government ecosystem in the public sector can respond proactively to critical problems and deliver public value according to the resources available, even in critical moments, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Consider increasing involvement, accountability and transparency by strengthening close collaborations between the public sector and the private sector, civil society and citizens to explore how technologies can be well-managed by public sector organisations and used in a timely and trustworthy manner.

  • Develop a system of open consultation and feedback with other public sector, private sector and civil society organisations, in support of the legislative branch of the government such that digital laws and regulations can be enacted efficiently and with consideration of various stakeholders involved.

  • Establish standardised policy levers across the public sector under OMSAR’s leadership, such as common business case methodologies for ICT procurement and commissioning, budget thresholds and pre-evaluation of ICT investments to improve the coherence and sustainability of policy implementation.

  • Reinforce institutional structures, frameworks and approaches for the improved management of digital government projects, such as data capture, risk management and monitoring incentives for better implementation, evaluation and measurement of project performance.

  • Build normative mechanisms and a culture of early sharing of practices, testing and feedback of digital government projects so stakeholders in the public sector are better aligned on the on-going digital transformation initiatives from policy design to implementation.

Continue to establish and update effective general and sector-specific legal and regulatory frameworks, such as the commissioning of digital technologies, while enhancing the digital transformation of the public sector in an agile way that enables a collaborative and experimental culture across the administration that goes beyond legalistic approaches.


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Note by Turkey
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