Adonis Diaries

CEDRE Reform Program? Did Lebanon oligarchy learn anything?

Posted on: December 5, 2018

CEDRE Reform Program: Learning from Paris III

November 27, 2018 | English |

By Sami Atallah, Mounir Mahmalat and Sami Zoughaib

Lebanon’s poor track record of implementing past ‘Paris’ reform programs looms large over the recent CEDRE conference.

In order to make CEDRE a success and avoid past mistakes, policymakers, international donors, and civil society must understand why previous reform programs failed.

By analyzing the design of the Paris III reform agenda, this policy brief derives guidelines for the formulation of the CEDRE reform program to increase its feasibility and thereby its likelihood of success.

We provide a framework to assess a reform program based on institutional requirements, which categorizes a reform measure according to the degree of involvement of political actors from different parties and institutions.

Applying the framework to the Paris III reform agenda shows that it was poorly designed by failing to reflect the capacity of the Lebanese state to enact reform.

More than half of all reform measures exhibited high requirements and necessitated approval from a parliament that, at the time in 2007, was paralyzed and sidelined over mounting political tensions.

Several measures for fiscal consolidation and privatization were unrealistic and prone to institutional bottlenecks, such as parliamentary paralysis, which could be used by the government to justify inaction.

In total, the government enacted only 14% of all high-requirement and about half of the low requirement reform measures.

For CEDRE, the international community’s approach to designing the reform program must reflect the low capacity of the Lebanese state to enact reforms by focusing on enhancing administrative capacity in public service delivery in order to increase the likelihood of success.

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