Democratic Accountability Strengthened
Jordan is making political reforms to promote greater democratic accountability and transparency, political pluralism, and strengthen civil society. These efforts are expected to enhance Jordan’s long-term prospects for stability and prosperity.
Political reforms to date include the establishment of an independent election commission, the creation of a National Integrity Strategy to fight corruption and increase transparency, eased requirements for public demonstrations, restrictions on the jurisdiction of the State Security Court over civilians, the establishment of a Constitutional Court, and parliamentary elections that were held in 2013 that were judged “credible” by international observers. During 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.
Despite this progress, challenges remain regarding political participation, freedom of the press, the status of women, and the role of civil society. Institutions responsible for good governance lack the capacity to respond fully to citizens’ needs. Additionally, citizen participation is limited, which lessens the opportunity for Jordanians to provide input on issues affecting their daily lives. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media lack political and social influence, hampering the ability for increased citizen participation. Additionally, political inclusiveness is lacking for young leaders, women, and democratic political parties.
Furthermore, many communities in Jordan are contending with the effects of regional volatility and demographic changes, as well as transitions associated with domestic policy reform, deteriorating economic conditions, and the influx of significant numbers of Syrian refugees. These result in increased strains on critical services and infrastructure, and a rise in community-level tensions.
USAID will continue to support the Government of Jordan’s goal of a more inclusive government – especially for women and youth – while promoting strengthened rule of law and supporting anti-corruption activities at all levels.
USAID is supporting the Government of Jordan’s reform agenda, which is making a concerted effort to strengthen civil society, rule of law, and good governance. USAID supports government institutions and civil society efforts to expand citizen participation, further electoral reform, strengthen an independent judiciary, advance human rights, improve local governments’ ability to provide better services, and promote increased transparency and accountability to combat corruption. USAID also promotes the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in political life.
USAID also supports community cohesion, enhanced stability and resilience, particularly in communities affected by the influx of refugees.
IMPACT & RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS
Some USAID-supported achievements include:
- Installed computer automation in all 74 of Jordan’s courts with a customized Arabic-language case management system.
- Updated and expanded 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, increasing the pool of future female judges and the quality of judges overall.
- Engaged more than 1,300 CSOs in a diverse portfolio of support.
- Created a national network of specialized trainers in advocacy, communication and non-governmental organization (NGO) excellence to build CSO capacity.
- Supported a CSO coalition report on Jordan’s compliance with international conventions as a basis for disability rights advocacy.
- Strengthened university curricula on human rights and involved 15,000 youth at 21 universities in sessions concerning democratic concepts and citizen engagement.
- Conducted capacity-building sessions for more than 800 staff members from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and Ministry of Political Development.
- Supported the National Integrity Commission’s five-year plan to improve governance and reduce corruption.
- Supported the establishment of the Independent Election Commission; engaged more than 3,000 officials, activists and youth to discuss election reform and standards; established a national coalition of more than 200 CSOs to campaign for improved election procedures and monitor elections.
- Made grants to 19 communities to reduce the pressures created by the influx of displaced Syrians and improve residents’ quality of life, resulting in upgraded schools, cleaner neighborhoods, and innovative partnerships with the private sector and civil society to more sustainably address challenges.
Last updated: July 14, 2016