This article was published in LOGI's April 2020 newsletter in partnership with Kulluna Irada.
LOGI is one of three NGOs chosen to spearhead a three-year project aimed at enhancing the engagement of civil society in the decision-making process and promoting transparency in the oil and gas sector.
The project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and Publish What You Pay, a worldwide campaign for accountability in the extractive industry that aims to ensure revenues from oil, gas are used to drive development.
“We want to constructively engage, not just to criticize from the sidelines. We are here to engage in the decision-making process and be on the table,” Pierre Saade, MENA coordinator for Publish What you Pay, told LOGI.
The project covers Iraq, Kenya and Lebanon, each of which have extractive industries of varying scales. Saadeh said it’s main objectives will be to create a coalition of civil society, including university students and professors, that can become a bulwark of accountability.
“We want to highlight that the main recipients of these funds will reach out to wider civil society to create an inclusive, diversified coalition from different backgrounds, be it on financial, and economic issues or the environment,” Saade said.
The project will be officially launched in May. Saade said that a yearly conference will be held, gathering stakeholders from the government and civil society with the goal of influencing policy-making.
The project will in the medium term aim to support civil society elections to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the global standard for transparency in extractive industries such as oil and gas which Lebanon is seeking to join.
“We know that the context in Lebanon is very corrupt,” Saade said. “I’m not saying the sector has shown corruption, but it’s like a fish swimming in an ocean of corruption, so we want to insulate it as much as possible.”