Local and international calls for the deep reform of Lebanon’s public sector have for years fallen on deaf ears, with populist politicians co-opting the language of anti-corruption to mask their lack of action. The study lays bare how this has resulted in a cumbersome, yet feeble, administration that is ill-equipped to serve the population’s needs.
In random interviews with 1,065 people across Lebanon, the researchers found that 75% of respondents described dealing with state institutions as either “hard” or “impossible.” Almost a third said they had witnessed public sector misconduct, oftentimes reportedly involving negligence, arrogance or corruption. Critically, public sector inefficiency was shown to be as important a concern for respondents as corruption.
The researchers, who conducted the study as part of a summer internship organised by Saint Joseph University and regional consultancy Siren Associates, say the way forward lies in centring public discourse around tangible solutions to enhance the public administration’s efficiency and efficacy.
According to the report, this involves a number of steps. Supporting the development of a civic culture that involves citizens in rebuilding and reshaping Lebanon’s state institutions is a key one. Locating change champions within the public administration and leveraging their knowledge to design the path toward change is another. And quick-win technical measures such as activating complaints mechanisms, digitising services, and developing codes of conduct and staff competency frameworks will also play an important role, the researchers say.
To read in detail about the study, its findings and recommendations, please follow the links below.