# Chapter 1. Decentralization in Jordan: Context and background

With the passing in 2015 of the Decentralization and Municipality laws, the Government of Jordan acted on its intention to bring decision-making closer to citizens and to increase their engagement in directing and planning policy interventions. Broadly, the aim of such efforts is “to transfer a range of powers, responsibilities and resources from central to sub-national authorities” (OECD, 2019a) and to bring governments closer to citizens. Beyond regulatory implications, furthermore, these reforms have wide-ranging effects on economic development, governance and the relationship between politicians, civil servants and the public at large.

As highlighted in the OECD’s 2017 Jordan report Towards a New Partnership with Citizens, decentralization reforms across and beyond OECD countries vary significantly in their scope and degree (See Box 1.1 on different theoretical approaches to decentralization). The implementation of these type of reforms, furthermore, may differ from sweeping to incremental, and may cover political, administrative and fiscal dimensions (OECD, 2019a).

It is therefore important to acknowledge that there is not a one-size-fits all approach for decentralization, but rather its execution should be seen as a dynamic and continuous process. Indeed, the deployment of these reforms does not follow a linear trajectory, as it responds to shifting economic, social, and institutional factors. Acknowledging these complexities is important since decentralization reforms can so clearly serve as a means to achieve medium and long-term policy goals, such as enabling more efficient service delivery, advancing democratic reforms and promoting economic development (OECD, 2019a). This is especially true in light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as the crisis response will need to occur at both the central and local levels to ensure continued delivery of vital health services as well as measures to support vulnerable groups and the private sector.

Recognizing this potential, the Government of Jordan has embarked on an ambitious process to decentralize power from the central to the sub-national level. Notably, in 2014, His Majesty King Abdullah II emphasized that “political development should start at the grassroots level, and then move up to decision making centres and not vice versa” (OECD, 2017a). Therefore, one of the most important objectives of the decentralization reform, later reinforced by Jordan’s 2025 vision1, is to place citizens at the heart of policies and services by granting local authorities a major role in their co-design and co-delivery.

While much has been achieved with the 2017 local elections and two rounds of the needs assessment cycle, the promise of decentralization in Jordan has yet to fully meet citizens’ growing expectations. This chapter will therefore explore the conditions under which decentralization arose in Jordan, the possible implications shaping its pace and scale, as well as the potential of this reform to support the further opening of the government. The first section will outline the role of open government as an instrument to embed the principles of transparency, integrity accountability and stakeholder participation across levels of government. The chapter will then proceed to outline the economic, demographic, social and political factors that have shaped the decentralization process in Jordan. It will end by outlining the main tenants of the reform, its current progress, as well as the methodology of this report.

Open government reforms are built on the idea that promoting transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation enables governments to work better, deliver the services their constituencies need, and ultimately enhance trust in the legitimacy of decisions. Given these benefits, the OECD defines open government as “a culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth” (OECD, 2017b).

With the growing adoption of open government reforms, countries are increasingly mainstreaming these principles across sub-national levels. Local governments (i.e. regional, provincial and municipal) can have a close and direct impact on people’s daily lives. Not only are local governments often responsible for the delivery of crucial services, but they also play an intermediary role between the public and national administrations. Furthermore, sub-national governments are often more present, and have a better understanding of public priorities as well as differences in needs. Implementing reforms at the local level may therefore offer the greatest opportunity to transform the relationship between the government and its citizens through meaningful and direct opportunities for participation in public life.

Against this backdrop, the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government recognizes the roles and prerogatives of local governments under the concept of an Open State (See Box 1.2). Under provision 10, the Recommendation argues for the streamlining of open government strategies and initiatives across levels of government and branches of power. While this concept emphasises improving the quality and consistency of governance throughout a country, it also highlights the importance of collaborating, exploiting synergies, and sharing good practices and lessons learned with stakeholders to promote open government principles. Broadly, this provision reflects the growing demands of citizens to take part in local decision-making.

Despite the recognized importance of the role of sub-national authorities in supporting open government principles, challenges remain to effectively mainstream an overarching open government agenda across and beyond levels of government. Notably, the OECD has identified a number of challenges specific to the local level, including:

• Limited awareness of the benefits of open government;

• Insufficient involvement of sub-national levels in national decision making processes;

• Limited human and financial resources as well as competing priorities (OECD, 2016).

For its part, Jordan has taken important steps to promote a culture of open government. Jordan was the first country in the MENA region to pass an Access to Information (ATI) law in 2007 and to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011. In 2019, the country conducted the most inclusive process to design its fourth OGP action plan and is promoting the implementation of all commitments therein.

The ongoing decentralization process in Jordan thus represents an opportunity to consolidate these gains at the sub-national level. The bottom-up approach to the development of local development plans through decentralization brings new opportunities to involve citizens in more direct and meaningful ways. However, to reap these potential gains, there is a clear need to streamline and institutionalize practices to promote a more transparent, accountable and participatory needs assessment process across the 12 Governorates.

The implementation of decentralization and open government reforms at the local level must adapt to the evolving political and governance landscape in Jordan. This is ever more true given the asymmetric challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which demands a proactive and coordinated policy response to support the delivery of vital services and the rebuilding of economic livelihoods at both the central and local levels.

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy operating under a parliamentary system. His Royal Highness King Abdullah II retains authority over the country’s overall strategic direction and the appointment of the government (i.e. prime minister, heads of ministries, governors, etc.). Following the Arab Spring, a series of reforms opened this system, including the appointment of the prime minister and government, which now occurs in consultation with parliament (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2019).

Jordan is transitioning from a highly centralized to a progressively deconcentrated system with more powers vested at the Governorate and Municipal level. The multi-level governance system in the country divides the Kingdom in 12 Governorates comprised of 100 Municipalities. Each Governorate is headed by a Governor appointed by the King, who responds directly to the Ministry of Interior (MoI) regarding the execution of national policies (Ranko Et Al, 2017). Supporting its work, Executive Councils are tasked with developing the Governorate’s budget and executive plan, which is subsequently discussed and approved by the elected members of the Governorate Council. Although the political structures within municipalities vary significantly due to considerable differences in size, roles include a mayor, a municipal council as well as a local council. The new 2020 Municipalities law mandates the Ministry of Local Affairs (MoLA) to support and steer the work of municipalities on identifying needs from local communities. However, difficulties to bridge the divide between the operational effectiveness of these entities and the delivery of services coexists with the need to make national policies more relevant for the local level.

Jordan’s decentralization reforms are taking place within – and in response to – challenging national circumstances. Stagnating economic growth, growing perceptions of corruption, large influxes of refugees, and the evolving political landscape have affected the trajectory of this reform and have helped push the government to engage more fully with citizens’ needs and expectations. Likewise, the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has highlighted the need for the central and local levels of government to act decisively, and in a coordinated manner, to respond to the both the public health and economic dimensions of the crisis. This section therefore explores the elements influencing decentralization in Jordan, and analyses the ongoing challenges as well as the opportunities for open government to be at the centre of this paradigm shift.

Despite numerous reforms, Jordan faces a number of internal and external pressures that have slowed its progress in regards to economic development. In 2019, the rate of economic growth slowed significantly from an expected rate of 5% to 2.2% in real terms (Kardoosh, 2019). Stagnant economic growth in the country can be linked to mounting regional pressures, most visibly the crisis in Syria and, prior to that, Iraq, which have caused influxes of refugees that have strained health and education services and disrupted trade routes (World Bank, 2019). In fact, overall economic growth in the MENA region has also slowed, with growth forecasts expected to range from 1.5% to 3.5% from 2019 to 2021. This slowdown may be further exacerbated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has substantially weakened Jordan’s near-term growth prospects (World Bank, 2020a).

The slow and unequal distribution of economic benefits across society in Jordan has in turn increased pressures for the government to deliver broad-based results. Around 15.7% of the population in the country live in extreme poverty2, and these rates display significant variances across Governorates (Jordan Department of Statistics, 2019; Middle East Monitor, 2019). In the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the World Bank (2020) notes that Jordanian households are feeling the impact of this economic shock mainly through job losses and reduced earnings, and near poor households risk being pushed into poverty (World Bank, 2020a). To be sure, recent estimates suggests that poverty rates may increase by up to 21.6% as additional households are pushed over the poverty line (defined as 1.90 / day in 2011 PPP) (World Bank, 2020b). From a socio-economic perspective, income disparities persist across Governorates and between urban and rural communities. According to the Kingdom of Jordan’s Department of Statistics (2019), Amman is home to over 40% of the total population, and more than half of all households in the country (59%) in 2018 fell into high or upper middle-income segments. Indeed, wealth distribution varies significantly by region, with the North having the highest number of low-income households (29%) compared to the Central (15%) and Southern (23%) regions. Government data also found that a majority of the population in Madaba (61%), Mafraq (75%), Jarash (59%), Ajloun (55%), Tafiela (57%), and Ma’an (60%) fall in the lowest income quantiles (See Figure 1.1). Such disparities highlight the need to engage with a wider variety of local stakeholders, including traditionally underrepresented segments of the population from less profitable regions, to ensure local development policies address differing needs in the country. Jordan’s challenging economic situation is also reflected in its growing unemployment rates. Unemployment in Jordan is at a record high, increasing from an average rate of 14.12% to 19% from 2015 until 2019 (Jordan Department of Statistics, 2019; Jordan Times, 2019). The study published by the Kingdom of Jordan’s Department of Statistics also identified geographic disparities in unemployment rates, with the highest levels (21.7%) in Zarqa, compared to the lowest levels (14.4%) in Karak. In addition to geographic variances, unemployment patterns showed a consistent gender divide, with unemployment among males reaching 16.4% in comparison to 28.9% for women. This situation risks generating, on the one side, a general sense of discontentment towards institutions and, on the other side, mounting expectations regarding the government’s commitment to empower local communities through decentralization. Acknowledging these challenges, the Government of Jordan is pursuing a series of structural economic reforms. The current administration developed a comprehensive Economic Stimulus Growth Plan (2018 – 2022) with the aim to “restore the momentum of economic growth and exploit the potential for development in Jordan”. The plan introduces a series of economic, fiscal and sectoral strategies to improve the overall business environment and reach a target growth rate of 5% by 2022. New regulation was also enacted to achieve these ambitious goals, particularly in regards to financial transactions and public procurement systems. These efforts have positioned Jordan as one of the top 20 performers in the 2019 Doing Business Index (World Bank, 2019). Nevertheless, Jordanians remain generally dissatisfied with the performance and opportunities for socio-economic development in the country. A majority of the population (71%) consider the current state of the economy as the biggest challenge facing Jordan, followed by corruption (17%) and the quality of public services (4%) (Arab Barometer, 2019) (See Figure 1.2). Perceptions of economic conditions have also declined, with 23% of the population rating the economy as favourable, in contrast with 46% in 2016 (Arab Barometer, 2019). Through consultation and engagement, open government initiatives can serve as a tool for Governorates to better reflect the needs of citizens and ensure their integration into the labour force. Growing perceptions of corruption in the public sector, and the perceived inability of policy makers to counter these instances, can have a noteworthy effect in disengaging citizens from public life (OECD, 2019). Corruption has been a constant challenge in the MENA Region, and was one of the main catalysts of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Indeed, the 2019 Arab Barometer notes that trust in government has been declining in the region, reaching a record low in Jordan (38%), Lebanon (19%), Morocco (29%) and Tunisia (20%). Deteriorating trust in Jordan is in parallel taking place in a context of perceived low levels of transparency and public sector integrity. The country ranked 76 out of 151 countries in the transparency of government policy making index and received a score of 65.87% on the rate corruption control (World Bank, 2018). While Jordan provides the public with substantial budget information (63% score), the country provides few opportunities for the public to engage in its development process (11% score)3 (IBP, 2017). In parallel, Jordan has remained consistent in regards to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index4, with an average score of 48 since 2016 and ranking 60th globally in 2019 (Transparency International, 2020). Within the region, however, Jordan ranks sixth among 18 countries on this index and remains above the regional average score (39) (See Figure 1.3). Following the Arab Spring, His Majesty King Abdullah II signed a royal decree establishing the National Integrity Charter and its executive plan to enhance national integrity systems5. The plan consolidates His Majesty’s comprehensive vision for reform under 168 commitments on the need to institutionalize governance, rule of law, combatting corruption, and public participation in the decision-making process. Jordan’s commitment to strengthening integrity systems was also emphasized in the context of the decentralization reform through the National Renaissance Plan (2019-2020)6. Its vision for transformation acknowledges combatting corruption and enhancing transparency and integrity as critical factors to strengthen institutions in light of the decentralization of power to the sub-national level. Embedding the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability are at the core of promoting a culture of open governance. As such, streamlining current national gains to governorates and municipalities in Jordan can help regain the public’s trust and deter scepticism around decentralization. Indeed, the involvement of citizens in the needs assessment process can serve as a counterweight to hold authorities accountable, as well as to ensure that advocated needs are reflected in local development plans. Based on the 2015 Jordan Population and Housing census, the overall population in Jordan consists of approximately 9.5 million individuals, of which a third are non-Jordanians. The population, however, is unevenly distributed across governorates, with 75% of all inhabitants concentrated in Amman (4 million), Irbid (1.77 million) and Zarqa (1.36 million) respectively (OECD, 2017) (See Figure 1.4). The current efforts to decentralize power by fostering local planning can thus serve as an opportunity to refocus attention and address the needs of less-populated regions. Jordan is also one of the youngest countries in the world, with more than one-third of the population aged between 12-30 years (OECD, 2018). However, the current socio-political and economic environment is negatively affecting youth political participation, civic engagement and access to economic opportunities (Milton-Edwards, 2018). Despite high education attainment rates, young people in Jordan have low prospects for job opportunities. Youth apathy in public life is also on the rise, as illustrated by the low voter participation (35%) from the 17-30 age group in the 2016 legislative elections (Milton-Edwards, 2018). The Renaissance plan thus recognizes the important role of youth in the successful implementation of decentralization. Under its objective to “Develop political life and safeguard public freedoms,” the government of Jordan seeks to “integrate youth in public decision making in municipalities through the process of decentralisation and governorate councils”. The plan also aims to develop programmes to strengthen the ability youth to participate in public life by developing a democratic culture, citizenship, and enrooting pluralism in society. Ensuring the effective implementation of these efforts targeting youth, at a time with growing discontent from citizens, will be key to forge the country’s path towards socioeconomic development. The crises in neighbouring Iraq and Syria have propelled the arrival of refugees to Jordan over the course of the last 15 years. In 2019, UNHCR recorded approximately 747,080 refugees in the country, with a significant share (83.5%) primarily living in urban areas. The vast majority of refugees come from Syria (654,692) and are concentrated in Jordan’s most densely populated governorates, including Amman (29.5%), Mafraq (24.8%) and Irbid (20.6%) respectively (See Figure 1.5). This influx has strained public service delivery and raised concerns around ensuring the long-term socio-economic integration of this group. In parallel, the state of the economy is prompting Jordanians to seek opportunities outside of the country. According to the Arab Barometer (2019), almost half of the population (45%) has expressed interest in emigrating, twice the rate from 2016. Findings from this report also identified strong links between migration and youth, with over 59% of those willing to leave the country falling between the ages of 18-29. These sentiments are indicative of the need to engage the Jordanian society, beyond the usual suspects. Over the past decade, Jordan has undergone a series of reforms in efforts to respond to its evolving economic, social and political landscape. Notably, transformations to Jordan’s multi-level governance structures did not happen in a vacuum, but rather as part of a series of robust democratic reforms. In the aftermath of King Abdullah II’s rise to power in 1999, His Majesty introduced a series of political and economic reforms promoting the liberalization of markets. In his first letter to then Prime Minister Abdul Rauf Al-Rawabdeh, the King stressed the need to “enhance national unity, promote democracy, strengthen the judiciary, boost efficiency in the public sector, and strengthen the role of the media in promoting freedom of expression” (Muasher, 2011). The “Jordan First” national vision, introduced subsequently in 2002, consolidated these aspirations, and as a result, over 211 new laws were adopted in the following years. Of notable mention is the enactment of the 2007 Access to Information Law, which was the first of its kind in the MENA region. In parallel, Jordan was the first country in the region to join the Open Government Partnership. Responding to these calls for change, King Abdullah II established a Royal Committee and a National Dialogue Committee, whom led the amendment of over 42 articles in the Constitution (OECD, forthcoming). These efforts culminated in the Jordan 2025 vision, with over 400 prerogatives to improve the welfare of citizens as well as service design and delivery, amongst which decentralization featured prominently. In his letter on March 2014, the King stressed the importance of promoting local governance with the primary goal of ensuring a “just distribution of development gains by giving priority to governorate development programmes” (OECD, 2017a). As a result, the government introduced a series of laws in 2015 reforming elections, political parties (No.39)7, decentralization (No. 49) and the role of municipalities (No. 41). The approval of the 2015 Decentralization and Municipalities Laws marked an important milestone to ground the country’s ambitions in bringing local governments closer to citizens. The Decentralization Law established the Executive and elected Governorate Councils and outlined broadly their roles and prerogatives. The law also governs the election process and the authority of these new actors. Moreover, the Municipalities law formalized existing governance mechanisms and assigned municipal stakeholders a role in local development planning, in particular through the collection and transfer of citizens’ needs to the Governorate level. As outlined by the previous OECD (2017) report “Towards a New Partnership with Citizens: Jordan’s Decentralization Reform”, the Government of Jordan centres its decentralization reform on four key pillars: • Promoting stakeholder participation to support local development; • Promoting sustainable local development and an equal distribution of benefits; • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery within local administrations and municipalities; and • Improving efficiency in the planning and preparation of Governorate budgets. Acknowledging decentralization as a continuous process, the Legal and Administrative Committees in Parliament conducted a National Dialogue in 2015, seeking citizens’ feedback to identify potential amendments for both 2015 draft laws. It also sought to activate the role of the permanent committees in Parliament, address existing gaps regarding electoral rules, and enhance public participation in the decision-making process, in alignment with His Majesty’s vision (Al Hayat, 2020). Overall, the National Dialogue exhibited high participation levels with a total of 4,160 attendees from civil society, academia and various political parties. A total of 746 recommendations were brought forward - namely 103 on the draft Decentralization Law, 124 on the draft Municipalities Law and 519 general observations on the functioning of Municipalities and Governorates (Al Hayat, 2020). The Government of Jordan also included concrete actions to support the implementation of the 2015 laws under its 3rd OGP National Action Plan (2016-2018). Under Commitment 5, the Government of Jordan pledged to issue the requisite regulations and instructions to implement the Decentralization Law and hold Governorate Council Elections in 2017. Its ambition stated that: “by involving public participation in economic and development decisions, the Government’s aim is for the decentralization path, and the practical encouragement it entails, to constitute a direct input in improving the government’s performance and its proximity to the public which will allow the public to effectively and more transparently monitor government performance” (OGP, 2016). This commitment was overseen by the Ministry of Interior and MoPIC. In 2017, the Government of Jordan established the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Decentralization and the Executive Committee as the oversight bodies guiding the implementation of the 2015 Decentralization and Municipalities laws. The Inter-Ministerial Committee, which is composed of six Ministries led by the Minister of Interior8, is responsible for providing guidance on seven domains of the decentralization reform, including: “legislation, institutional capacity, awareness raising, institutional and organizational structures, evidence and procedures, financing, local development and services and information technology (Kahdim, 2018)”. In addition, the Executive Committee is in charge of overseeing the implementation of the decentralization legislation and is responsible for preparing local elections in Jordan. Guided by the Executive Committee, the country held its first local elections on the second half of 2017, where over 6,000 candidates competed for more than 1,833 seats on 100 city and town councils and 12 new governorate councils (Reuters, 2017). According to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the elections yielded a low voter turnout rate (31.71%) out of 1,302,949 eligible citizens, which was however higher (by 6.5%) than previous municipal elections in 2013. The highest voter turnout rates per Governorate were registered in Ajloun (62.8%), Mafraq (59.8%), Karak (57.14%) and Jerash (56.91%), while the lowest was accounted for in Amman (17.56%) (Al Emam, 2017). The 2017 elections were marked for having, for the first time, two types of elected councils. Notably, elections saw the establishment of 12 elected governorate councils, where previously, members concerned with the administration of governorates were appointed by the Ministry of the Interior in consultation with the Parliament. With the 2015 Decentralization law, the total number of seats in Governorate Councils was set to 380, from which 32 seats were assigned to women (quota of 20-25%) and 45 (a quota of around 15%) for appointments by the Cabinet. These new institutional arrangements at the sub-national level aimed to set the foundations for materializing King Abdullah II’s aspirations for decentralization to be centred on stakeholder participation. Following the establishment of Local and Governorate Councils in late 2017, the first needs assessment cycle for the design of sub-national development plans was conducted until the second quarter of 2018. The process involved consultations with citizens carried out by 355 local councils in 100 municipalities (Kahdim, 2018). Needs collected in 2018 were primarily focused on health, education and public roads policies. Building on the lessons learnt, a second needs collection process was carried out in 2019 to identify local development projects under the overall 2019 budget of 300 million Jordanian dinars (close to 400 million USD) for all 12 Governorates. The Administrative Committee of the Parliament, in cooperation with the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, conducted a second National Dialogue in 2019 on an umbrella of political reforms – namely on decentralization, elections and political parties. The National Dialogue aimed at reviewing and evaluating the implementation mechanisms around the decentralization law, in particular the mandate and authorities of Governorate Councils. In total 43 sessions were organized with 1,568 members of civil society, academia and public institutions across the 12 governorates (Al Hayat, 2020). The main conclusions of the National Dialogue highlighted the need to: • Merge the decentralization and municipalities law into a single law and set clear responsibilities between Municipal and Governorate actors (including the Local Council as well as the Executive and Governorate Councils); • Strengthen the powers and authority of Governorate Council. In addition, establish coordination mechanisms with Governorate Department Directors to aid in the implementation of local development projects. • Clarify the relationships between Governorate Councils and Executive Councils, as well as between Governorate and Local Councils. The need for better coordination between these actors and with key Ministries was also highlighted; • Develop a legal environment that encourages partnerships between local authorities and the private sector; • Support the implementation of development projects by encouraging foreign and local investments, with a focus of supporting projects beyond those concentrated in Amman. Participants also highlighted the need to address the lack of or insufficient financial resources for the implementation of local development projects; • Raise awareness around the opportunities for participation in the needs assessment process, as well as broader results in the context of decentralization to regain trust across the 12 governorates; and • Develop the capacities and tool for members of the Governorate and Local Development Units to perform their work, in particular to engage stakeholders in the development of local policies. Responding to the main concerns raised around the decentralization reform, the Government of Jordan presented to Parliament a new draft Local Administration Law in early 2020. The new legislation proposes to merge the 2015 Decentralization and Municipalities laws, following an evaluation of the main legislative, administrative and technical challenges facing decentralization. Some of the tenants up for debate include the quotas and composition of Governorate Councils, new powers for Municipal and Governorate actors, as well as updated procedural requirements for sub-national authorities carrying out the needs assessment process. Overall, the Government of Jordan faces a challenging road ahead in making these reforms more visible to citizens, whilst overcoming economic and political difficulties. The general sense of discontent in the country has led to four government reshuffles since mid-2018 alone, indicating a relatively volatile political moment for the country. The ongoing decentralization process should thus use the new momentum brought about by the new law to revamp initiatives at the local level, in particular to offer new opportunities for participation in the design and delivery of policies and services. At the same time, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis underlines the imperative for better communication, coordination, and cooperation between the central and local levels of government in order to ensure the delivery of vital services and the rebuilding of economic livelihoods across the country. To support Jordan’s efforts to embed the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation at the local level, this report analyses the current gaps in the needs assessment and development planning process. It is based on a survey developed by the OECD to understand the extent to which local needs are identified in a participatory manner and whether they are reflected in the budgeting and development planning processes. In 2019, MOPIC distributed the survey to 54 sub-national government representatives and 30 civil society organizations (See Box 1.3 for more information). This publication is also based on desk research and extensive interviews conducted with a wide variety of stakeholders during multiple fact-finding missions. A workshop with over 50 national, governorate and municipal stakeholders was also carried out to validate the data and the main findings of this report. Furthermore, this review incorporates the outcomes discussed in meetings in the framework of the 2019 National Dialogue and complements the work carried out by other donor organizations on the ground. ## References Al Hayat – RASED (2020), Background Note on Decentralization in Jordan. Al Emam (2017), Voter turnout rate higher by 6.5% than that of previous local polls — IEC, published online on the Jordan Times, https://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/voter-turnout-rate-higher-65-previous-local-polls-%E2%80%94-iec Arab Barometer (2019), Jordan Country Report, https://www.arabbarometer.org/countries/jordan/ Economic Policy Council of Jordan (2017), Jordan Economic Growth Plan (2018-2022), available online at: http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/jor170691.pdf Jordan Times (2019), Jordan's economic growth projections for 2019 drop slightly to 2.2%available online at: https://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordans-economic-growth-projections-2019-drop-slightly-22 Jordan Times (2019), Unemployment continues to rise in 2019, hitting 19%, available online at: https://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/unemployment-continues-rise-2019-hitting-19 Kandah, A. (2019), Decentralisation: a complex puzzle or a conflict between ministries?, Opinion piece in the Jordan Times, https://www.jordantimes.com/opinion/adli-kandah/decentralisation-complex-puzzle-or-conflict-between-ministries Kardoosh (2019), Jordan Struggles to Reverse Decades of Poor Economic Management, available online at: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-jordan-struggles-to-reverse-decades-of-poor-economic-management-1.7804160 Middle East Monitor (2019), Government survey: Extreme poverty in Jordan at 15.7%, available online at https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190409-government-survey-extreme-poverty-in-jordan-at-15-7/ Milton-Edwards, B. (2019), Marginalized youth: Toward an inclusive Jordan, published by Brookings online at: https://www.brookings.edu/research/marginalized-youth-toward-an-inclusive-jordan/ OECD (2019a), Making Decentralisation Work: A Handbook for Policy-Makers, OECD Multi level Governance Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/g2g9faa7-en. OECD (2017a), Towards a New Partnership with Citizens: Jordan's Decentralisation Reform, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264275461-en. OECD (2017b), Recommendation of the Council on Open Government, OECD, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/gov/Recommendation-Open-Government-Approved-Council-141217.pdf OECD (2016), Open Government: The Global Context and the Way Forward, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264268104-en. UNICEF (N.D.), Social protection in Jordan, https://www.unicef.org/jordan/social-protection UNHCR (2020), Syria Regional Refugee response portal, accessed online on 16/01/2020, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria/location/36 The Kingdom of Jordan’s Department of Statistics (2019), Jordan Population and Family Health Survey 2017-18, https://www.dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR346/FR346.pdf World Bank (2020a), US374 Million to Provide Cash Assistance to Poor and Vulnerable Households in Jordan, available online at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/25/us374-million-to-provide-cash-assistance-to-poor-and-vulnerable-households-in-jordan

World Bank (2020b), MENA Crisis Tracker, available online at: http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/280131589922657376/pdf/MENA-Crisis-Tracker.pdf

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## Notes

← 1. Jordan 2025 is the 10-year national vision and strategy of Jordan. This document features more than 400 policies and procedures promoting a participatory approach between the government, civil society and businesses.

← 2. Extreme poverty considers all those living with less than \$1 dollar a day.

← 3. The IBP considers countries that score above 60 on the Open Budget Index as providing sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner. IBP Open Budget Index: 0 being low and 100 being very transparent.

← 4. CPI score: 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean

← 5. Royal Committee to Enhance the National Integrity System (2012). National Integrity Charter and Executive Plan to Enhance the National Integrity System. Amman, Jordan. See: Link

← 6. Jordan Renaissance Plan (2019 – 2020), https://your.gov.jo/

← 8. Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee include: Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Planning and International Co-operation, Minister of Public Sector Development, Minister of Finance, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, and Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs.