Jordan undertook political reform long before the Arab Spring of 2011, but its 2005 National Agenda blueprint for progress towards democratization was only partially implemented. Calls for greater freedoms across the region increased domestic pressure on the government to hasten promised reforms. In 2011, royal committees were mandated to open dialogue and recommend changes in the electoral and political framework, including Jordan’s constitution. As a result, Parliament passed 41 amendments, the first major changes to the constitution since 1952. Additionally, an independent Constitutional Court and Independent Electoral Commission were established in 2012 and parliamentary elections took place in January 2013.
Our mission in Jordan has supported the King’s reform agenda, making a concerted effort to strengthen civil society, rule of law and good governance since 2004. We support government and civil society efforts to expand citizen participation and electoral reform, strengthen an independent judiciary, advance human rights, improve local governance and social service delivery, and promote increased transparency and accountability to combat corruption. Fostering inclusion of disadvantaged groups in political life is a core element cutting across the entire portfolio.
Examples of USAID-supported impacts in democracy, human rights and governance include:
- Provided all 74 courts with a custom electronic case management system.
- Modernized and expanded primary and continuing education for judges at the Judicial Institute – a regional model of excellence.
- Created a Future Judges Scholarship Program for the best university students to obtain law degrees and commit to serving as judges, significantly increasing the pool of future female judges.
- Engaged more than 1,300 civil society organizations (CSOs) in a diverse portfolio of programs, grants and technical assistance.
- Created a national network of nearly 300 specialized trainers in advocacy, communication and NGO excellence to build CSO capacity.
- Supported interventions advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, including a coalition of university students campaigning for disability rights in education.
- Strengthened university curricula with local and international experts on human rights; engaged 1,600 youth at eight universities to discuss democratic concepts and citizen engagement.
- Conducted internationally recognized BRIDGE election administration training sessions for more than 800 staff members from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Ministry of Political Development; nine staff members received full accreditation as BRIDGE facilitators. BRIDGE stands for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections and is a professional development program on the election process.
- Supported the establishment of the Independent Electoral Commission; engaged more than 3,000 intellectuals, officials, activists and youth in conferences to discuss election reform and standards; established a national coalition of more than 200 CSOs to campaign for improved election procedures.
Last updated: January 26, 2015