In the midst of Lebanon’s persistent waste management crisis, a powerful collaboration is driving actual change: the Reform Initiative For Transparent Economies (RITE), dedicated to monitoring internationally funded public projects in Lebanon. They have received  valuable assistance through The Good Lobby’s Pro Bono Europe. 

RITE was born as a spontaneous initiative bringing together investigative journalists, entrepreneurs and researchers to understand why the waste sector in Lebanon is in permanent crisis despite receiving substantial international funding, including from the EUs: in its first report, RITE focused on 16 EU-supported waste management facilities, a project that started in 2005 for which the EU has already invested over €30 million. Through a complex work of investigative journalism, RITE completed a thorough report with fact-based recommendations that provide funders with tighter project controls and better risk mitigation. Because of such activity, RITE requested strategic and legal assistance to bridge their work with the EU agenda on Lebanon. 

Pro Bono Europe connected RITE with Cédric Grolleau, a legal expert with considerable experience and knowledge of the European legislative mechanisms, making him the best fit for such a case. He conducted a multi-fold work / a multifaceted work / he undertook diverse types of actions to assist RITE and, together they embarked on a mission to enhance transparency and accountability. The pro bono assistance provided by Mr. Grolleau spanned from regulatory navigation to Freedom of Information Requests, helping to maximise the impact of RITE’s report within the EU institutions. 

Results were very tangible: RITE’s meticulously crafted report caught the eye of international media, sparking OpEds and TV interviews even on mainstream Arabic channels like AlHadath. The pinnacle of success came when the EU Parliament embraced RITE’s recommendations, embedding them in this summer’s crucial resolution on Lebanon

This result inspires hope for much better outcomes for the EU funding intended for the Lebanese people: “the pro bono legal support received by Mr Grolleau, with the help of Pro Bono Europe, was crucial in enhancing our findings to improve founding outcomes for their intended beneficiaries, while and protecting budgets and reputations of funders like the European Union.” – Mona Deeley, RITE UK.

Building on its investigation and 2022/2023 report, RITE will now be widening the scope of its best practice recommendations through consultations with Lebanon’s key funders, encouraging the implementation of such measures. It will also continue to monitor a select number of projects to ensure best practice is truly applied on the ground.