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Kick-off event for Governorate Council Members on October 22, 2017 in Amman, Jordan

As a contribution to the strengthening of the capacities of local councils a kick-off event for 152 members of the governorate councils from Amman, Zarqa, Balqa and Madaba was conducted in Amman.

The Decentralization Law and the new Municipality Law, which came into force in 2016, are key cornerstones of the reform process pursued by King Abdullah II since 2011 in Jordan. On the basis of the adopted law, elections were held at the level of the municipalities and the governorates (for the first time in Jordan) in August 2017.

With the new Decentralisation Law and Municipality Law, the government has undertaken a first important step towards promoting a more bottom-up approach to the identification of service needs and policy priorities, based on the role of the new elected councils in the municipalities and governorates.

Governorate Council Members of Amman, Zarqa, Balwqa and Madaba

By the adoption of Jordan Vision 2025, the country’s ten year strategy, which seeks to promote decentralization and advocates for the implementation of key open government principles including participation, transparency and accountability, the new reforms have tasked the local councils with deciding on their budgets and identifying the governorates' priority projects. The vision places citizens at the heart of the reform process. Through the elected governorate and local councils, the laws introduce an unprecedented opportunity for public participation in national and local development. With local authorities being closer to citizens’ needs, the reform is ultimately expected to result in a more responsive delivery of public services and more balanced development across the country. The creation of elected governorate and local councils provides, in principle, a new momentum to strengthen local democracy in its various forms.

A National Dialogue, led by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs - MoPPA, was initiated in January 2017 to raise awareness for the new legal frameworks and its implications for the future interaction between local authorities and community members. The Hanns Seidel Stiftung in Jordan in cooperation with the "Arab World Center for Democratic Development - UniHRD" supports the work of the Ministry (see previous articles).

Public administrations need the right people, in the right places, at the right time, and with the right skills if they want to meet today’s challenges. The new councils need to be empowered to draft their development and investment plans while enhancing the principles of accountability and responsibility to ensure quality and transparency.

As a contribution to the strengthening of the capacities of local councils a kick-off event for 152 members of the governorate councils from Amman, Zarqa, Balqa and Madaba was conducted in cooperation with UniHRD' and MoPPA in Geneva Hotel in Amman.

Topics tackled:

  • Functions of the Governorate Council
  • Responsibilities of the President of the Council
  • Relationship between the different local councils (governorate, executive, municipal, local)
  • Organizational Structure of the Governorate Council
  • Legislations related to the functions of the Governorate Council
  • Financial powers of the Governorate Council in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Regulations

Interview with Thomas Gebhard, Resident Representative of Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung

The event has shown that many questions are still open. The understanding of some participants about their tasks and responsibilities is still small. At the same time, it became clear that the new councils had yet to find their place in the decentralization process. A lack of acceptance by the Municipality Councils was complained, but also lacking of equipment and others.

The HSS will continue to support the decentralization process in Jordan through appropriate measures. Firstly, two events will follow in Mafraq and Tafileh with the respective council members.