Currently, WFD is implementing a three-year programme entitled ‘Strengthening Democratic Mechanisms for Reform, Accountability and Dialogue’.
Strengthening Parliamentary Practices and Accountability in Lebanon
In 2018, WFD received funding from CSSF to work with the newly elected Lebanese parliament on enhancing parliamentary staff and MPs skills in fulfilling parliament’s core business, supporting committees improve their working procedures and practices as well as engaging on key policy issues in parliamentary manner. The programme also supported the Lebanese parliament in engaging with CSOs and youth movements in participatory manner, and CSOs to create a better mechanism for cooperation with parliament.
Strengthening Democratic Mechanisms for Reform, Accountability and Dialogue
WFD is currently implementing this programme until March 2021. The programme will continue to work with the Parliament to enhance dialogue among Parliament, other state institutions, civil society and business; increase the accountability of Parliament and other state institutions to the public, and strengthen the responsiveness of the political elite and the relevant state institutions in tackling urgent national challenges and reforms necessary for Lebanon’s stability.
Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls in MENA: Political Leadership, Legislative Change and Regional Cooperation
The purpose of this Programme was to help MENA women parliamentarians to become more effective advocates for the rights of women and girls not to suffer violence through increased public debate, development of legislation offering better protection, improved parliamentary oversight, and stronger political leadership on a regional and national level.
Strengthening the Parliament of Lebanon
Between 2016 and 2018, WFD supported the legislative and oversight role of the Lebanese Parliament in the Oil and Gas sector. The programme provided technical advice on issues related to Oil & Gas to the Committee on Public Works, Energy, Water and Transport, and for the Research and Information Department.
Elections Skills Programme
This programme was implemented jointly with the National Democratic Institute aiming to build the skills and confidence of first-time candidates to run effective and inclusive campaigns for parliamentary elections. Through a series of tailored workshops and individual consultations, 100-200 first-time candidates from across the political spectrum have been equipped with critical campaign skills and relevant British and Arab experience; women first-time candidates learned skills and strategies to address challenges specific to women’s political participation, and high-potential first-time candidates received special mentoring from visiting British politicians.
Since 2013, WFD partnered with the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS) on two regional programmes aimed at supporting Women MPs in MENA and developing stronger links among policy makers. These have included several high-profile regional workshops on topical policy issues, trainings for parliamentary staff, and developing the capacity of women MPs.
Enhancing women’s leadership in MENA
The programme’ objective was to strengthen the capacities of women MPs in the MENA region and enhance the progression of legislative reforms that are relevant to women through:
- Establishing and institutionalising a course delivered by the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS);
- Enabling professional collaboration between CSOs and women MPs on key issues and the production of policy papers; and
- Providing access to information and knowledge through series of policy papers on designated gender issues developed and used strategically by trained CSOs to progress MPs legislative reforms.
Strengthening the links between policy makers and policy research
The main aim of this project was to lead to better legislation and oversight as a result from increased knowledge and usage of public policy analysis by MPs and committees in the MENA region. The project supported the production of evidence-based, accessible and relevant policy analysis and the development of understanding among MPs of their role in improving public policies. The project also embedded the learning and knowledge produced in a sustainable regional hub, the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS), linked to the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU).
In October 2010, a new partnership was signed between WFD and the Lebanese Parliament through a programme funded by the European Union (EU), which aimed at developing the capacity of the Lebanese Parliament to perform its financial and budgetary oversight functions.
The programme focused on working with Members of Parliament and developing an Advisory Unit to provide support and expertise for parliamentary committees. The programme also included exchanges between Members of Parliament from the UK and Lebanon in workshops and seminars.
The objectives of the programme included:
- Establishing an Advisory Unit to provide professional and technical support to committees for financial oversight and legislative scrutiny;
- Improving parliamentary financial oversight of the government by strengthening the Finance Committee in its financial and budgetary roles, and its role as Public Accounts Committee;
- Supporting the Administration and Justice Committee in its legislative role, mainly on the passing of new legislation and key policy issues in line with best practice and international conventions.
Strengthening Parliaments and Democracies
Since 2009, the WFD parliamentary programme in Lebanon has expanded to include other aspects related to strengthening human resources development, under The Westminster Consortium programme (TWC).
The Westminster Consortium programme with the Lebanese Parliament started in May 2009. Throughout the programme period, it has organized several trainings and workshops for parliamentary officials on parliamentary service, parliamentary communications, financial oversight and human rights and rule of law. More than 100 parliamentary officials and parliamentary reporters have taken part in those activities. Also, there have been several visits organized for Lebanese Parliamentary delegations to the UK parliament and vice versa in order to develop relations and exchange experience between the two parties. In the last two years of the programme, TWC has focused all its efforts in getting the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies launched. The launching ceremony of the Institute was accomplished in July 2011 in the Lebanese Parliament in the presence of representatives of most of the Arab parliaments. Since then TWC coordinated 3 regional activities that were hosted by the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies.
- Parliamentary Committees’ Work: House of Commons and Lebanese University
- Strengthening Financial Oversight in Arab Parliaments
- Strategic Communications Planning for Parliaments
The ‘Strengthening Democratic Mechanisms for Reform, Accountability and Dialogue’ programme aims to: enhance dialogue between parliament, other state institutions, civil society and business; increase the accountability of parliament and other state institutions to the public; and strengthen the responsiveness of the political elite and the relevant state institutions in tackling urgent national challenges and reforms necessary for Lebanon’s stability.
Support Women and Child Committee in considering gender and child sensitive bills. The committee has now proposed amendments to the bill of protecting minors from alcohol.
Proposal of amendments to some clauses in the Lebanese Penal Code (expanding the definition of rape) and the Domestic Violence Law (include political violence in the definition of violence article 2/ law 293) aiming at reducing impunity of perpetrators of violence against women.
WFD supported the Lebanese Parliament and the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) in establishing the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies and has developed a 3-year business plan for the training centre.
The establishment of a digital transformation network was a direct by-product of WFD’s work and will ensure that results can be sustained beyond the duration of the programme itself.
Development of a three-year action plan for the Women and Child committee strategic plan which marked the first strategic and action plan to be developed by a parliamentary committee in the Arab region.
Development of a Communication strategy and outreach plan for the parliament, including e-public consultation and the design of a new website that is more inclusive and interactive.