The National Agenda represents an ambitious effort to create a master plan for the reform, future growth and development of Jordan. His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein introduced the concept in 2005 as a way to create a comprehensive strategy for social, political and economic transformation, which would put Jordan on a trajectory toward rapid, sustainable economic growth and greater social inclusion.
Past reform efforts had provided a foundation on which to build but policies did not go far enough on their own, were not always integrated across sectors and were not always sufficiently sustained. The National Agenda is distinguished from previous plans by taking a holistic approach to development that recognises that social, economic and political development can only advance in tandem. Its emphasis on achievement deadlines, performance indicators and built-in monitoring and evaluation mechanisms also make it unique.
The National Agenda Steering Committee was formed by Royal Decree on 9 February 2005, and immediately began a qualitative, holistic study of the structures, functions, management systems and working procedures of the public sector. The 26-member committee comprised representatives from the government, Parliament, civil society, the private sector, media and political parties. It also brought on board community stakeholders from various sectors of society with the objective of ensuring an even contribution to reform efforts and a fair distribution of social, economic and political benefits.
The committee combined its findings from nine months of study to produce a document that established the guidelines for Jordan's comprehensive development in the ten-year period from 2007 to 2017, and represented a national consensus on the aspirations and ambitions of Jordanians. Today, the agenda's initiatives represent the essence of the programmes that will be adopted by successive governments in the coming decade. The early phases of its implementation are focusing on building capacity in Jordan's economy, government and labour force in preparation for larger structural changes.
The National Agenda's initiatives were developed in three key areas:
Government & Policies
These proposals revolve around creating a favourable investment environment, fiscal discipline, lower trade barriers, internal social solidarity, administrative development, justice, accountability, transparency, a more inclusive labour policy that builds up vocational training, employment support, the minimum wage, statutory controls on working hours, and support for small and medium enterprises. Quality education is also a cornerstone. Government and policy reforms will contribute to the stimulation of economic development and the improvement of social welfare and security.
Basic Rights & Freedoms
Proposals in this area are meant to expand social inclusion, religious freedom, political and cultural development, equality under the law, access to health care, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and a free and responsible media sector.
Services, Infrastructure & Economic Sectors
This includes the development of a safe transportation network, affordable public transport, adequate water sources, a cost-effective energy supply, environmental sustainability, universal access to information and communications technology (ICT), industrial development and job creation, sound financial services and access to adequate health care services.
National Agenda Implementation Impact: Facts and Figures
- Will ensure all Jordanians are covered by medical insurance by the year 2012
- Will reduce unemployment from 12.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent, creating 600,000 jobs by 2017
- Will reduce the number of Jordanians living in poverty from the current 14.2 per cent to 10 per cent
- Will increase GDP per capita from JD1,532 to JD2,540
- Will remove all forms of discrimination against women in laws and legislation by 2015
- Will convert the public deficit from 11.8 per cent of the GDP into a surplus of 1.8 per cent in 2017
- Sets mechanisms for tax reforms to ensure fairness and equality, reduce tax evasion and improve revenue collection procedures
- Will achieve real GDP growth of 7.2 per cent over the next ten years
- Will achieve public debt reduction from 91 per cent to 36 per cent of the GDP
- Describes how to increase spending on scientific research from 0.34 per cent to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2017
- Establishes monitoring and evaluation units at ministries and public departments and institutions, to design and track performance indicators and present progress reports to the Council of Ministers and the public
- Initiatives are measurable through clear sets of performance indicators
In response to royal orders, the government’s specialised committees have translated directives and general principles of the National Agenda into an executive work plan, including policies, programmes and defined projects. The government will allocate the required finances for execution of the plan on a yearly basis through the budget law.