As part of the SOLiD II project to promote social dialogue in the southern Mediterranean countries, and in order to ensure the involvement of all activists active in public affairs in the countries targeted in the second phase (Lebanon, Algeria and Palestine) a series of meetings were held in Beirut on 5, 6 and 7 October 2022. These promotional days with the parties involved in social dialogue in the country to discuss the importance of its development and institutionalization in Lebanon and the further agreement between all social actors to determine the common priorities that need to be addressed to overcome the economic and social crisis and to structure the cooperation and partnership between all those involved in this path.
This activity included a meeting between the project secretariat and the president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council in Lebanon to present the SOLiD project, the most important activities planned for Lebanon and to present the progress of the discussions between the local social partners on the priorities that should be worked on in the framework of a global and multilateral dialogue. The meeting emphasized the need to strengthen the relations and links between the different legislative, consultative and executive bodies in order to develop the role of social dialogue institutions in addressing priority economic and social issues.
Given the important role that universities play in raising awareness of the importance of developing social dialogue and activating reform policies, a meeting was held with representatives of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and another meeting with the Director of the Institute of Political Science at St. Joseph University to present the objectives and results of the SOLiD project. The meetings addressed the means of joint cooperation, the valuation and role of all actors in the development of public policies and alternatives action plans to address economic and social problems by strengthening the tool of social dialogue in the southern Mediterranean countries.
These promotional meetings included also discussions with the Lebanese Observatory for Workers' and Employees' Rights which is an action network for human rights in order to further involve all parties in the social dialogue process in the country and to determine the priorities that will be included in the proposals and action plans of the conference.
The success of the process and institutionalization of social dialogue remains dependent on the political will and commitment of all parties and the embodiment of democracy at all levels. For this reason, the project representatives met with a group of parliamentarians to present the SOLiD project and the importance of its results in the development of joint work between all actors at the local, national and regional levels to propose alternatives and national action plans that include all priorities and challenges in the target countries. In order to activate all these ideas and plans, the discussions with the parliamentarians stressed the importance of establishing permanent bodies to monitor and evaluate the course of social dialogue in the country, while providing the legal, organizational and material conditions for its implementation. The various interlocutors have ruled on the need for the activation of consultative institutions that play a role in the development of policies and reforms that the Parliament can translate into national action plans to meet the economic challenges and social development by activating reforms and drafting the necessary laws that frame these trends.
These different meetings were an opportunity to strengthen the partnership with the parties involved in the social dialogue in Lebanon. These partners expressed their availability and support for cooperation and exchange of ideas and proposals, as well as their commitment to implement them, in addition to their effective involvement in the multilateral reform process in order to develop and institutionalize the social dialogue mechanism in the country.