Governing the Gas Sector in Lebanon
The prospects of finding gas off the coast of Lebanon have triggered high hopes for the country's economic outlook. Some analysts have predicted that gas will reduce the country's energy bill, pay off the public debt, and contribute to regional economic development. However, three major challenges stand in the way of pushing forward from the discovery stage. The first is the territorial water dispute with Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel. The second is managing the extraction process effectively. The third challenge is the management of gas revenues in a way that promotes inclusive development. This project will develop a road map for institutional and policy reform to help promote the accountable, transparent, and inclusive negotiation, as well as management of Lebanon's new-found gas resources. To do this, the project will propose ways of enabling greater citizen engagement in the decision-making process. Researchers will propose evidence-based mechanisms, including a national survey to document the perspectives and preferences of Lebanese citizens, especially the poor and marginalized, that will enable greater citizen engagement in the decision-making process, The project will also bring together experts to discuss and debate the issue, and document how gas revenues can best be managed and distributed. A series of short reports will synthesize the main issues and, drawing on results of the survey, the project team will provide recommendations to the Lebanese government.