Promoting National Dialogue Towards Political Reform in Jordan
This activity is an implementation of the third commitment of Jordan’s Fourth Plan for the Transparent Government Partnership Initiative (2018), which seeks to engage citizens in the decision-making process through conducting a national dialogue on the political and parliamentary legislations in place. Most importantly, the national dialogue covers the electoral laws, political parties, decentralization, and local administration, and builds for an inclusive political reform. This activity comes to consolidate the partnership between government authorities and civil society institutions in all sectors.
Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs
The national dialogue aims to create a channel of communication between citizens and the government across the various sectors and entities; and it seeks to reinforce the dialogue approach for reaching consensus amongst the different political movements, unions, parties and activities at the national level. Dialogue could promote convergence of views, reduce tension, and enhance confidence in government performance; and it would engage citizens in decision-making and increase their sense of responsibility, especially when they take up key roles in the process of drafting legislations and legal development.
The implementation of this activity was at different levels: (1) Government level, within the partnership framework between the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation; (2) Between the Government and legislature authorities, represented by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and the Parliament’s Administrative Committee; (3) Partnership between Governmental and Civil Society Organizations, represented by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and Al-Hayat Center - Rased.
Efforts focused on developing a detailed plan to convene national dialogue sessions that cover all sectors, and these sessions were held in Jordanian universities in all governorates, and some dialogue sessions were allocated to local communities and political parties. Special sessions for women were also held in all governates, in partnership with institutions concerned with women affairs, and with the participation of women who are either elected in councils or community activists. Youth had an active role in dialogue through a group of stakeholders working with youth, and the dialogue targeted experts, decision-makers, academics and stakeholders in local administrations. Cooperation on convening the dialogue sessions was with the chambers of industry and commerce, trade unions, parliamentarians, in addition to continuous work with municipalities and provincial councils.
Various participants and stakeholders benefit from this activity, including the government, political parties, professional unions and the Parliament, in addition to youth, women, and civil society institutions, municipal and provincial councils, the media, academics, researchers, post-graduate students and general public.
The national dialogue resulted in merging the laws of decentralization and of municipalities into the local administration law, where a draft law was submitted to the Parliament and a number of recommendations were shared for adoption by the Parliament’s Administrative Committee. Furthermore, a study by Al-Hayat Center-Rased on decentralization in Jordan and ways of development have resulted with set of recommendations, and the most important of which was the proposal to strengthen the authority of provincial councils and amend the mechanism of their formation; and this recommendation was adopted in the draft local administration law.
The dialogue contributes to enhancing the participation of all stakeholders in national decision-making processes, as iterated by members of governorate councils who valued this activity by the government.
The main challenges revealed during the national dialogue sessions include the lack of trust between the decision makers and stakeholders, in addition to difficulties in the communication mechanism with the target groups and in the selection of locations that are suitable for national dialogue methodology.