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Jordan

Fostering National Dialogue to Achieve Political Reform (JO0061)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Jordan Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs

Support Institution(s): Friends of the Jordanian Parliament Association - Cancer Awareness Association - Nuha Domor(Activist) - the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) - Afaq Al-Wehdat for Civil Society Development - Al-Hayat Center - Rased - National Center for Human Rights - Jordan Association for Entrepreneurship - May Shalabiah (Expert) - Transparency International - Jordan

Policy Areas

Anti Corruption and Integrity, Capacity Building, E-Government, Gender, Inclusion, Political Integrity, Public Participation, Sustainable Development Goals, Youth

IRM Review

IRM Report: Jordan Transitional Results Report 2018-2021, Jordan Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Fostering national dialogue to achieve political
reform Lead implementing agency
Commitment Description
1 / 9 / 2018 - 30 / 6 / 2020
Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs What is the public
problem that the
commitment will
address?
This commitment addresses the weak integration of citizens into public decision-making
processes, and achieving consensus on key political legislations in Jordan. It also addresses
the social and political challenges faced by citizens during their daily lives, which have not
been addressed by legislations relevant to this commitment.
What is the commitment?
This commitment seeks to implement a National Dialogue on Election; Political Parties;
Decentralization; and Municipalities laws, concluding in a road map towards a comprehensive
political revitalization based on justice, equal opportunity and the rule of law.
How will the commitment
contribute to solve the
public problem?
Including citizens in decision-making is a cornerstone for justice and trust-building. The
principle of public participation in decision-making is based on the fact that stakeholders
become more aware of the public’s needs. Through this commitment, citizens will be
engaged in the revision of prominent political legislations, widely viewed as obstacles
hindering political reform. Therefore, this commitment will increase the level of trust
between citizens and their government, raise the level of public satisfaction with political
reform, as they will be key partners in the process, moving towards a more mature political
era, and higher legitimacy of governmental decisions on political reform.
Why is this commitment
relevant to OGP values?
This commitment is directly linked to the OGP value of Civic Participation, as it entails an inclusive
dialogue among all relevant parties on political reform. It also has added value, considering the
nature of the topics and laws under discussion. The commitment is also in line with the value
of Access to Information, as it focuses on the continuous dissemination of the dialogue outputs,
progress indicators, recommendations and results, through the use of interactive platform,
promoted through social media and governmental digital platforms, which also makes the
commitment consistent with value of technology and innovation for openness and accountability.
As the commitment focuses on providing feedback to citizens, who are considered partners at
all dialogue stages, it paves the way for public accountability over governmental processing and
consideration of their views. Additional information
This commitment is linked to the principle of public participation in decision-making,
around which many NAPs are designed. It is also consistent with SDG 16, particularly subgoal
16.10 to “Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decisionmaking
at all levels”.
Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable
Start
implementation
Date
End
implementation
Date
Launch of a national dialogue to improve the legal frameworks governing political
reform in Jordan, including the Election, Political Parties, Decentralization and
Municipalities laws. All relevant stakeholders will be included in the dialogue
creation process, particularly political parties, youth institutions, national facilities
for women empowerment and CSOs. The activities and agenda of the national
dialogue should be pre-publicized and utilize direct approaches (participatory
discussion sessions) and indirect approaches (social media and e-government
platforms).
1 / 10 / 2018 30 / 9 / 2019
Timely dissemination of dialogue progress reports and their interim results to the
public, through interactive platforms on social media and various e-government
platforms, in order to allow for public commenting and feedback by the largest
possible number of stakeholders, and in line with citizen participation in the
decision-making process.
1 / 10 / 2018 30 / 06 / 2020
Analysis of the results of the National Dialogue and developing a final set of
recommendations to amend existing legal frameworks. Then publishing the
analysis and recommendations for public viewing, ahead of submitting them to
the Parliament.
1 / 10 / 2019 30 / 06 / 2020
Contact Information
Name of responsible person from implementing agency Yomna Rawabdeh
Email and Phone yumna.rawabdeh@mop.gov.jo
+962790261662
Other Actors Involved
(CSOs and Experts)
Name of the CSOs and
experts who applied for the
voluntary assistance to the
implementation of the 4th
NAP. Open call of interest
was launched during 2 -17
/ 12 / 2018.
- Friends of the Jordanian Parliament Association
- Cancer Awareness Association
- Nuha Domor(Activist)
- The Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW)
- Afaq Al-Wehdat for Civil Society Development
- Al-Hayat Center - Rased
- National Center for Human Rights
- Jordan Association for Entrepreneurship
- May Shalabiah (Expert)
- Transparency International - Jordan

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 3. National Dialogue for Political Reform

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“This commitment addresses the weak integration of citizens into public decision-making processes, and achieving consensus on key political legislations in Jordan. It also addresses the social and political challenges faced by citizens during their daily lives, which have not been addressed by legislations relevant to this commitment.”

Milestones

  1. "Launch of a national dialogue to improve the legal frameworks governing political reform in Jordan, including the Election, Political Parties, Decentralization and Municipalities laws. All relevant stakeholders will be included in the dialogue creation process, particularly political parties, youth institutions, national facilities for women empowerment and CSOs. The activities and agenda of the national dialogue should be pre-publicized and utilize direct approaches (participatory discussion sessions) and indirect approaches (social media and e-government platforms).
  2. Timely dissemination of dialogue progress reports and their interim results to the public, through interactive platforms on social media and various e-government platforms, in order to allow for public commenting and feedback by the largest possible number of stakeholders, and in line with citizen participation in the decision-making process.
  3. Analysis of the results of the National Dialogue and developing a final set of recommendations to amend existing legal frameworks. Then publishing the analysis and recommendations for public viewing, ahead of submitting them to the Parliament."

Start Date: 1 / 9 / 2018

End Date: 30 / 6 / 2020

Editorial Note: the commitment description provided above is an abridged version of the commitment text, please see the full action plan here.

Context and Objectives

Fostering national dialogue on major political reform areas has been a declared priority on Jordan’s political agenda. On 19 September 2018, King Abdullah II expressed his interest in reviewing electoral legislation to speed up the political reform process. [19] In addition, the minister of political and parliamentary affairs initiated the development of a preliminary National Dialogue Roadmap, to review political reform legislation, including funding procedures for political parties. [20]

The government believes this commitment will contribute to integrating citizens into decision-making processes, allowing them to have a say in social and political changes that affect their daily lives. [21] The commitment involves analyzing the results of the national dialogue to develop a final set of recommendations to amend existing legal frameworks. The government expects this work to result in a final roadmap that lays out time-bound goals and activities regarding the areas covered by the commitment: election laws, municipal law, political parties, funding procedures laws, decentralization law, and a “new social contract.” [22]

This commitment is verifiable. Some of the most important outputs involve the quality of dialogue sessions, as captured in the agendas, minutes, reports, and participant feedback. Additionally, participants’ creation of comprehensive and representative recommendations—to be considered by Parliament—would indicate implementation of this commitment.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information and civic participation. It seeks to involve groups of civil society to consult them and use their input to provide recommendations for reviewing legislation. This commitment is also relevant to the OGP value of access to information in that the government will publish “dialogue progress” reports on the status of the discussions.

If implemented as written, this commitment has minor potential to increase citizens’ participation in national policymaking. This commitment represents an important but incremental step toward greater civic participation in drafting policies of national importance. The potential impact is considered minor because the commitment text is vague about how public and civil society input will be incorporated into the recommendations. The commitment also does not include a guarantee that Parliament will debate, consider, or adopt recommendations. Therefore, as written, commitment activities do not ensure that the national dialogue will result in policy change. If Parliament were to adopt the recommendations that arise from the national dialogue, then this commitment may prove to have a greater open government impact.

Next Steps

The IRM believes this commitment has the potential to allow for the necessary dialogue to achieve long-term changes that contribute to citizen participation and representation in government. However, for this commitment to be successful, the IRM suggests that the government consider the following:

  • Promote a participatory process that allows citizens to contribute to determining the areas of legislation that will be subject to the National Dialogue Framework.
  • Clarify that Parliament will consider citizen contributions for proposed changes to legislation.
  • Ensure participation from underrepresented and excluded groups.
  • Include members of Parliament or their delegates, to guarantee support for approval of legislation.
[19] European Union, Election Follow-up Mission (EU EFM): The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Final Report, September 2018, https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/jordan_efm_final_corrected_23.11.pdf.
[20] European Union, Election Follow-up Mission.
[21] Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, The Fourth National Action Plan 2018–2020 under the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGP), 31 October 2018.
[22] European Union, Election Follow-up Mission.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. National Dialogue for Political Reform

Complete:

A national dialogue was held between the end of 2018 and May 2019, focusing on potential reforms to Jordan’s Decentralization and Municipalities Law, Election Law, and political parties. [17] This followed several previous national dialogues, most recently in 2011, which had generated public disillusionment with such processes. [18] Under this commitment, facilitated by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and Al-Hayat Center-Rased, the dialogue included 53 sessions across Jordan’s governorates, with 1,568 participants (36% female). The participants included representatives of parliament, political parties, governorate councils, municipal councils, local councils, civil society organizations, labor unions, and chambers of commerce, as well as legal experts, women, and youth, among others. More than one thousand recommendations were collected, which were collated into recommendations in a report published in June 2019. [19] Two years later, approximately twenty of the former dialogue participants were appointed to the Royal Committee for Political Reform, a 92-person committee that drafted reforms to the Decentralization and Municipalities Law and Election Law. [20] The new Decentralization and Municipalities Law of June 2021 may have represented a recommendation of the national dialogue, but was primarily driven by the Minister of Local Administration (formerly the Minster of Municipalities). [21] Critics of the new law emphasize that it does not shift authority to elected representatives, for example, pointing to new stipulations allowing the Cabinet to appoint Amman’s mayor and one-third of its council members. [22] Compared to previous national dialogues, Al-Hayat Center-Rased considers this national dialogue to have achieved greater policy impact. [23] However, according to the Berghof Foundation, the lack of an advisory role and decision-making powers in previous national dialogues may have increased political frustration and disengagement. [24] Elements of these shortcomings persisted in the recent national dialogue. This commitment may prove to have open government results in the longer term but, at the time of writing, citizen participation had only resulted in incremental changes to law, with impact diluted by the two-year gap between the dialogue and development of new legislation.

[17] Muhammad Al-Zayoud, “[One Thousand Recommendations Collected by the National Dialogue on Decentralization] ألف توصية جمعها الحوار الوطني حول اللامركزية,” Al-Rai (July 30, 2019), http://alrai.com/article/10495823/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A3%D9%84%D9%81-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%AD%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%A9 (accessed October 20, 2021); “ [Outcomes of the Decentralization National Dialogue] مخرجات الحوار الوطني للامركزية,” The Ministry of Political Affairs and Parliament, the Parliament Administrative Committee, and Hayat-Rased (June 2019).
[18] Marike Blunck, Luxshi Vimalarajah, Oliver Wils, Corinne von Burg, David Lanz, and Mir Mubashir, National Dialogue Handbook A Guide for Practitioners (Berghof Foundation, 2017), 252, https://berghof-foundation.org/library/national-dialogue-handbook-a-guide-for-practitioners.
[19] Muhammad Al-Zayoud, “[One Thousand Recommendations Collected by the National Dialogue on Decentralization] ألف توصية جمعها الحوار الوطني حول اللامركزية,” Al-Rai (July 30, 2019), http://alrai.com/article/10495823/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A3%D9%84%D9%81-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%AD%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%A9 (accessed October 20, 2021); “ [Outcomes of the Decentralization National Dialogue] مخرجات الحوار الوطني للامركزية,” The Ministry of Political Affairs and Parliament, the Parliament Administrative Committee, and Hayat-Rased (June 2019).
[20] Muhanad Zuwayad (Al-Hayat Center-Rased), interview with IRM researcher, November 4, 2021.
[21] Osama Muhsen (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), interview with IRM researcher, November 26, 2021.
[22] Anwar Ziyadat, “قانون الإدارة المحلية الأردني: الصلاحيات بيد الوزير لا المجالس المنتخبة [The Jordanian Local Administration Law: Powers in the Hands of the Minister, Not the Elected Councils],” The New Arab (September 17, 2021), https://www.alaraby.co.uk/politics/%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3 (accessed November 8, 2021).
[23] Muhanad Zuwayad (Al-Hayat Center-Rased), interview with IRM researcher, November 4, 2021.
[24] Marike Blunck, Luxshi Vimalarajah, Oliver Wils, Corinne von Burg, David Lanz, and Mir Mubashir, National Dialogue Handbook A Guide for Practitioners (Berghof Foundation, 2017), 252, https://berghof-foundation.org/library/national-dialogue-handbook-a-guide-for-practitioners.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership