The National Human Development Reports of Lebanon


The global Human Development Report has been published annually by UNDP since 1990. It has considerably influenced development thinking and approaches t operational activities for development at the international level and in countries around the globe. National Human Development Reports have been promoted and supported as a corporate tool as of 1997 (the first reports were published as of 1992) and today nearly 400 reports have been published in 135 countries.

The aim of National Human Development Reports is to examine the human development concept from a national perspective and to adapt it to specific national experiences and to emphasize national priorities. These Reports will give a more concrete and elaborate picture of the status of human development at the national level. The Human Development Report at the national level will, in particular, shed light on complex problems, which may have gone unnoticed or may have been under-studied, misdiagnosed or untreated.

Lebanon experience

The Lebanon Country Office initiated action towards the preparation of an initial report in the autumn of 1995, in cooperation with national experts drawn from civil society.

1996-1997: The report A Profile of Sustainable Human Development in Lebanon introduced and promoted the SHD concept and portrayed significant features of sustainable human development through review of the main thematic and sectoral components. 2,500 copies in English and Arabic were distributed (of which half were sold at cost).

1998-1999: The National Human Development Report for Lebanon, theme Youth and Development was prepared in cooperation with the Council for Development and Reconstruction. The report was released in English in March 1999 (1,000 copies) and in Arabic in August 1999 (1,000 copies), (about 40 percent sold at cost).

A process of promotional and supporting activities underpinned the preparation and follow-up of the reports. There is a need to reconsider and better institutionalize the process with a view to broadening and deepening stakeholder involvement.

Both reports were well received by government, civil society including media and the public at large. They have contributed to national debate on aspects of sustainable and human development in the country and to ongoing change towards increased emphasis on the social and environmental dimensions of development. Both reports have been widely used in universities, schools and youth clubs. They also served to support policy initiatives and action; however, policy changes were not been fully achieved.

2001-2002 National Human Development Report: theme and rationale

The theme of the report is Globalization: Towards a Lebanese Agenda. Lebanon has a particular, extraordinary historical experience with globalization, which it is challenged to emulate in the present new wave. Lebanon is not only facing the challenge to recover from the long period of war through the reconstruction and development of its economy and the reconstitution of its society, but also faces the arduous task of integrating and adjusting to the new trends of globalization - the combination of these two daunting challenges will require the full mobilization of the national potential and the inspired contribution of all, groups and individuals.

Globalization creates extraordinary challenges to every country. The phenomenon of globalization represents systemic change, which shapes and reshapes economies and societies, and affects groups and individuals alike. Some countries are better prepared to analyze the phenomenon and its different facets, to take advantage of it, i.e. to influence it and to minimize the negative impacts.

The aim is for the report to put a strong positive spin on the opportunities created by this process of evolution-cum-revolution - provided strong links are created with human development. There are several "visions" or possible futures for Lebanon; each one implies regaining a can-do attitude. The question is: what does globalization actually offer Lebanon in terms of potentialities to solve basic problems and seize new opportunities? The National Human Development Report will attempt to shed light on the issues involved and will point to new perspectives - to contribute in a meaningful way to shaping the answer to the above question. In the process, the National Human Development Report will enable the people and the agents of change to promote dialogue and to debate ideas going in that direction.

The 2001-2002 National Human Development Report will take advantage of the thinking, analysis and findings of the global Human Development Report, which focuses on globalization with a human face, and of the regional event on globalization and human development in the Arab region, which took place in Tunis in November 1999. Most important, it will rely on information and knowledge at the national level and document relevant experiences.

2001-2002 National Human Development Report: Process

The project idea was developed and resources were mobilized in the second half of 1999. The preparation of the report was initiated in May 2000 and the draft report was completed in September 2001. It was then submitted for peer review, following which it was finalized for publication. The report will be published in September 2002.

The preparation of the report is part of a process of awareness raising and consensus building about globalization and human development issues and action. In September and October 2000, a series of six in-house workshops were organized involving each 15 national specialists in an attempt to better understand the subject and issues involved. Subsequently, the National Coordinator has continued bilateral consultations with a large number of development specialists and stakeholders.

UNDP has contributed to a number of initiatives in the form of speaking engagements, participation in conferences and seminars, and providing substantive support for organization of meetings on the subject of globalization. A series of information meetings and thematic roundtables were organized and supported. Events included two roundtables on Globalization and Human Development: Threats and Opportunities for Lebanon (12 June 2001); and, Information and Communication Technology for Human Development in Lebanon (13 July 2001).

The National Coordinator of this year's report is Salim Nasr (Executive Director, Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies). National consultants cooperating in the preparation of the report are Roger Melki, Charbel Nahas, Maud Stephan, Raymond Khoury, Mohamad Al-Amin, Antoine Haddad, and Georges Assaf.

The Steering Committee consists of the President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Jamil Itani (previously, Mahmoud Osman), and the UNDP Resident Representative, Yves de San, and is supported by a Joint CDR/UNDP Committee, chaired by the Director of Programmes, CDR, Bashir Mounla, (previously, Ali Serhal), and included Amal Karaki, Senior Programme Specialist, CDR, Randa Aboul-Hosn, Policy Specialist, UNDP, and Christian De Clercq, Project Manager/Senior Advisor, UNDP.

30 August 2002