The role of the centre of government in driving decentralisation reform in Jordan

This chapter analyses the current architecture of the state with a focus on the interplay between the central level, governorates and municipalities examining the autonomy of subnational bodies, accountability mechanisms and the challenges faced by government institutions across all levels of government to effectively deliver on their mandates. It raises the (yet unanswered) question whether the creation of elected councils at governorate and local level will eventually go along with a more significant transfer of administrative, political and financial competencies. Stressing the critical function by the National Committee for the Decentralisation Reform as the centre of government (CoG) for driving the reform process, it discusses the need to further clarify mandates and procedures in order to define the future interaction across all levels in the day-to-day service delivery and the national planning and development process.

This document, as well as any [statistical] data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of, or sovereignty over, any territory to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

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Following Parliament’s approval of the new Municipality and Decentralisation Laws, and their subsequent ratification by Royal Decree in December 2015, Jordan is currently revamping the role of its subnational levels by re-allocating competencies to existing institutions, as well as creating new institutions in the municipalities and governorates to get policies closer to citizens.

This chapter assesses Jordan’s decentralisation reform and the centre of government’s (CoG) co-ordination capacity to successfully address the main challenges the country is facing, as identified in Chapter 1. It presents an overview of the decentralisation reform in Jordan and in particular, it analyses the Decentralisation and Municipalities Laws and the government’s recent arrangements to lead and implement the reform under Jordan 2025.1

Since decentralisation is at the heart of this assessment, this chapter will first focus on defining the process and providing relevant international good practices. It will then determine the role of the centre of government in leading decentralisation reform and devising the mechanisms for an effective and efficient implementation that includes the active involvement and engagement of all key stakeholders.

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