News: Lebanese MPs recommend joining the EITI: a step welcomed with cautious optimism by civil society

Source: Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI)

On March 22, the Lebanese Parliament’s energy committee issued a recommendation to the government to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) with the aim to enhance transparency and accountability in Lebanon’s oil and gas sector.

Through this effort Lebanese officials are signalling that Lebanon is serious about adopting transparency measures in its petroleum industry in order to re-engage disinterested international oil and gas companies.

The workshop, during which this recommendation was issued, was organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and involved thirteen members of parliament, the Minister of Energy and Water, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA), representatives of key ministries, and a World Bank representative.

Given that civil society is a vital stakeholder and a cornerstone of the EITI process, the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI), an NGO promoting transparency and accountability, calls upon WFD and the LPA to open future EITI discussions to national civil society organisations.

There is a unique opportunity for Lebanon to adopt transparency and accountability measures prior to starting its petroleum exploration journey. LOGI is keen on embracing the EITI process and welcomes this very important step taken by the Lebanese members of Parliament.

LOGI hopes that these statements are followed up by tangible steps towards the adoption, and most importantly, the implementation of EITI standards in Lebanon. While an official recommendation to the government is a great start, LOGI is eager to see more action that moves us beyond cosmetics and towards real reforms and results. As part of its advocacy plan, LOGI is determined to support the MPs in their call and help engage the government and civil society to adopt the EITI standards.

If the EITI is to be implemented in Lebanon civil society has to be able to play an active role in the governance of Lebanon’s oil and gas sector. This will require Lebanese civil society organisations, including LOGI, to bolster its capabilities and have an official mechanism to influence the sector and have a seat at the decision table.

In short, a promising small step in Lebanon but there is still a long way ahead to drive transparency and accountability through a real participatory process.

The Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI), is an independent NGO that promotes the transparent and sound management of Lebanon’s oil and gas resources. LOGI is a member of the Publish What You Pay Network (PWYP). You can learn more at: www.logi-lebanon.org