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The Creation of the CDR and the Reasons for its Establishment
Towards the end of the year 1976 and, after almost two years of painful and destructive events particularly on the infrastructure level as well as the public institutions and ministries, which were at the time suffering from an acute shortage in human resources and equipment and, following the restoration of security through the presence of the Joint Arab Forces, the government found it necessary to create a new public body which would be able to carry out the enormous task of the reconstruction of Lebanon.

On the other hand, some friendly countries wishing to help Lebanon in its reconstruction efforts were in need of a reliable side to depend on when negotiating and to create channels through which this aid will go through especially that the Ministry of Planning ceased to exist.

Thus, the Council for Development and Reconstruction was established through Decree No. 5 dated 31st January 1977 . The responsibilities of the CDR were specified to three main tasks: complying a plan and a time schedule for the resumption of reconstruction and of development, guaranteeing the funding of projects presented, supervising their execution and utilization by contributing to the process of rehabilitation of public institutions, thus enabling it to assume responsibility for the execution of a number of projects under the supervision of the Council of Ministers.

Contrary to other authorities, the CDR was an autonomous institution endowed with extended jurisdiction and is directly accountable to the Council of Ministers through the Prime Minister, thus evading the administrative routine matters which had ceased to be followed in order to accelerate the reconstruction process and to allow adequate time for the reconstruction and building of public institutions that were devastated during the events.

This explains the importance of specialization, integrity, training and experience as a criteria adopted, and through which the leaders of this new advanced institution were chosen and had existed and will continue to be the right pillars for planning, funding and implementing projects. CDR had evolved through the regulations that accompanied the period that followed, as noted below, thus bestowing on it greater responsibilities in this field.

The CDR is in the institutional hierarchy; the main flagship of the Council of Ministers that complies with their instructions and coordinates with the concerned ministries.


CDR: History and Administrative Structure - Overview
The Decree Law 5/77 provides that the Board of Directors of the CDR must be composed of a maximum of twelve members, four of whom were appointed full time for five years and form the Bureau of the CDR, while part-time members were appointed for three years. These arrangements have been applied at first but, with the change of regime, a new decree instituted a Board of six directors of departments, all appointed every five years: the presidency, projects, programs, finances, legal and administrative matters as well as technology. They held the office until late 1990, despite the lack of a president and the government duality, at which date the government had again appointed a Board of twelve members in accordance with Decree Law 5/77. It is on this basis that CDR management continues, although the number of part-time members of the Board of Directors has changed over the years: today, for example, in addition to the officers, only three part-time members complete the Board of Directors. Since January 1991, a delegate of the government, having powers of control and specific prerogatives, seconds the Board of Directors and attends its meetings.

The staff, at the same time, technical and logistic, was recruited especially on the criteria of competence and experience. Being very few at the beginning, the personnel had been expanded over the years to fill the posts foreseen in the organization chart, which has also undergone several amendments, according to the needs. Today, in addition to the presidential bureau, members of the Board of Directors and the Delegate of the Government, the CDR has six principal administrations: planning and programming, projects, fund raising projects, finance, legal and administrative matters. Each of these administrations consists of several departments. Between specialists (engineers, economists, financiers, jurists, etc.) and support staff (secretaries, drivers, messengers, etc.), the CDR has nearly two hundred and fifty employees; in addition, a recruitment campaign has been launched recently through the Council of the Public Function to fill the remaining vacant posts.

The evolution CDR mission
The starting activities of CDR were laborious, which can easily be understood. The recruitment of qualified staff and the establishment of a plan of action were taking time, especially in the climate of insecurity prevailing at that time. During the first period, the CDR applied itself to an elaborate sector-based master plan, starting with the formulation of adequate terms of reference and later negotiating the funding of various priority projects. Its action in relation to the execution of the projects was limited, especially for the rehabilitation of coastal and main roads. The CDR was also interested in insuring loans to the industrial and agricultural enterprises that suffered damage during the events. A rough draft of a global reconstruction plan was published, and a meeting of donor countries and agencies was organized under the auspices of the World Bank in 1983.

Following the change of regime, the CDR has been requested for additional tasks including an accentuated commitment in project implementation. The Government has in fact started by transferring the activities of the Development Commission of the International Airport of Beirut and the Harbor Commission to CDR. Then, at a later period, it decided to transfer to the CDR all the files relative to the projects of the city of Beirut and projects across the country (such as highways), and to close institutions that are responsible, namely, the Executive Council Projects of the city of Beirut, and the Executive Council of major projects. This clearly shows that the CDR had become the body responsible for all the major projects of reconstruction and development in the country, accountable to the Council of Ministers, and to coordinate its sector-based actions with the concerned ministries.

The CDR simultaneously assumed its responsibilities in the areas of planning and financing of projects.

The CDR conducted bilateral and multilateral negotiations with friendly countries and funding agencies, and has held several conferences of donor countries as well as significant amount in loans, commercial loans and grants to finance projects under its responsibility.

In addition to the various sector-based master plan, the CDR has launched several large-scale operations in the field of planning, especially the elaboration of a “Land Use Plan” which has already been submitted to the Council of Ministers.

Today, under the guidance of its President Nabil El Jisr and, assisted by six members of the Board of Directors, the CDR has reached its full speed, and applies itself to the multiple tasks entrusted to it, in order to attend to the needs of the citizens in the various Lebanese regions and to contribute to improving their standard of living.