Since the end of the Civil War, decentralisation is a much debated topic in Lebanon. The Ta’if Agreement of 1989, Lebanon’s National Reconciliation Accord which paved the way for an end to armed conflict, stipulated an “extensive administrative decentralisation” for the country. However, until today, the Ta’if Agreement remains unfulfilled and local governments in Lebanon struggle to fulfill basic public service delivery such as waste management, health care, community safety and public transportation. Particularly after the arrival of more than 1.5 million refugees from neighbouring Syria, municipalities are overburdened and local governance is increasingly dysfunctional.
Why has decentralisation been so challenging in Lebanon? What is there to debate about since decades? And what are the current difficulties faced by local governance and how could they be solved? This publication offers answers to these questions. It is is based on an expert meeting on decentralisation, held by DRI in December 2016 in Beirut and attended by politicians, lawyers, academics and representatives of Lebanon’s civil society.