Democratic Accountability Strengthened
Jordan is pursuing 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 passage of the national decentralization and municipalities laws, amendments to the elections and political parties laws, 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. The last parliamentary elections held in 2013 were judged “credible” by international observers. The 2016 Parliamentary elections will be the first after significant changes to laws affecting the electoral process, from the formation of political parties and candidate lists, to the establishment of constituent boundaries. The electoral cycle will continue in 2017 to cover municipal elections and elections for governorate councils; new bodies at the governorate level.
Despite this progress, challenges remain regarding political participation, freedom of the press, the status of women, and the decreasing legislative space for civil society. Institutions responsible for good governance lack the capacity to respond fully to citizens’ needs. Citizen participation is limited, particularly among women, youth, and people with disabilities. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media exercise weak political and social influence, further hampering citizen participation. Consequently, Jordanians enjoy few opportunities to provide input on issues affecting their daily lives.
Many communities in Jordan contend 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 tensions.
USAID continues to support the Government of Jordan’s goal of a more inclusive government—especially for women and youth—while promoting the rule of law, media freedoms, anti-corruption activities, and civil society.
USAID supports the efforts of Jordan’s government institutions and civil society to advance political reform in multiple arenas: increasing citizen participation by providing multiple pathways for engagement in decision-making on priority issues, furthering electoral reform, strengthening an independent judiciary, advancing human rights, improving local govern-ments’ ability to provide better services, and promoting increased trans-parency and accountability to combat corruption.
USAID promotes the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in political life and supports community cohesion and 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.
- 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 19,000 youth at 24 universities in discussions sessions and ac-tivities on democracy concepts and citizen participation
- Partnered with the Ministry of Education and Madrasati Program to launch a new program targeting 350 high schools to involve students in sessions on democracy, human rights and elections and engage them in initiatives that serve their communities.
- Conducted capacity-building sessions for more than 800 staff members from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Municipal Af-fairs, 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 Com-mission; 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 elec-tion 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 soci-ety to more sustainably address challenges.
Last updated: September 28, 2016