Despite the progress it has made, Jordan is still facing some challenges in democratic governance. Public participation in the decision-making process and the role of civil society institutions still needs to be strengthened further. Jordan’s 2013 parliamentary elections took place on the 23rd of January and are the country’s first elections since the new developments in the region. Voter turnout was 56% of registered voters (42% of eligible voters). Only 3 of the 18 registered political parties are represented in the Parliament, and there is little youth involvement. The quota for women has increased from 20 to 25 per cent in municipalities, while the female representation in the Parliament remains at 9.8 %.
The country has recently been ranked as the 58th country on the Corruption Perception Index (2012). Stronger accountability mechanisms are needed within national institutions (horizontal accountability) and between people and the State, (vertical accountability), and people are demanding a stronger voice in decision-making. Inter-State accountability structures are not fully developed and nationwide consultations on national issues are few and ad-hoc.
How we address these challenges
UNDP has been leading on supporting many governance related issues, to strengthen the national capacities in having systems and procedures in place. UNDP provided technical and advisory assistance to the IEC for setting up its structure and functions, internal communication systems, and recruitment processes.
Through its programmes, UNDP aims to promote participation, accountability and effectiveness at all levels. It also encourages the building of effective and capable Jordanian institutions that are accountable, transparent, inclusive and responsive. UNDP assists the Anti-Corruption Commission to become an advocate of accountable and transparent government with zero tolerance to corruption. Additionally, UNDP is supporting the newly established Independent Election Commission to deliver its mandated functions of conducting fair and transparent elections.
In this light, UNDP has offered support in legislative strengthening, and to parliaments and public administration to protect the rights of people with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups. UNDP is encouraging the Higher Council for Youth to collaborate with the private sector and civil society and to harness youth innovation with political participation in local governance. Additionally, UNDP is supporting the Ministry of Political Development, to deliver its mission on strengthening the role of political parties.