Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, Engineer Musa Maaytah stressed the importance of uniting efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, in Jordan and the world at large, to protect the most vulnerable groups during a meeting held on 19 October 2020 by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) under the title “Strengthening Localization in Jordan and the Role of JONAF in the Response to COVID-19”.
The meeting was held und the patronage of the Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs, who stressed that collective, participatory, work is the most effective way to face crises and protect communities. Maaytah called on the civil society to play a role of mediator between communities and government, and of main partner in gauging citizens’ needs and priorities. He also emphasized the need to focus on development work and ensure its sustainability in the governorates.
The minister said that working with the civil society is essential if national goals and sustainable programmes are to be achieved, as is increasing foreign funding for civil society and governmental organizations. He stressed the importance of building coalitions and working collectively, within the civil society, to execute funded projects and programmes with integrity and transparency, and in constructive partnership with the government.
Maaytah underlined the need for a clear national approach to monitor, evaluate and institutionalize the execution of foreign-funded projects, through performance indicators and details regarding expenditures, to guarantee their sustainability. He noted that development is a common goal for all parties aiming at improving the lives of citizens and finding answers to the problems and challenges facing the community.
Maaytah stressed the importance of commitment to preventive and public safety measures and to the defence orders, aiming to protect all citizens, as well as of educational and awareness-raising efforts to protect citizens’ health and face the pandemic and its consequences.
Dr. Yusuf Mansur, head of Al Nahda Thought Center at ARDD, emphasized the importance of partnership among local and international organizations, especially in the decision-making and implementation processes of aid and development projects. As such, it is important to work toward breaking stereotypes that portray local organizations as merely administrative executors of projects, he said, adding that an improvement in the global humanitarian funding, by making it more constant, long-term and covering basic expenses, contributes to empowering communities to better participate in the development process, and stressed the importance of revising development policies to avoid mistakes and face challenges.
Ms Lina Al Kalash, CEO of Tamkeen for legal aid and human rights, and member of JONAF’s steering committee, pointed out the need for civil society and governmental institutions to collaborate and coordinate in all aspects, as they constitute an important part of the community and need to play a proactive and participatory role in decision making.
She said that JONAF had launched phase two of its response plan to combat the second wave of Covid-19, which complements the immediate response plan it had launched earlier. The plan entails raising awareness, reporting, providing immediate aid, such as food and medication, as well as other activities.
Director of The Humanitarian Relief Coordination Unit at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation Omar Nuseir highlighted Jordan’s constant humanitarian response to crises of all sorts.
He stressed that Jordan is working toward achieving the sustainable development goals and, with its approach intended to bring about reform and openness, and ensure security, it is coping well, despite the exceptional circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the need to unite all efforts to deal with and respond to the crisis.
Also speaking at the meeting were Ghada Abdel Tawab, the Decent Work and Social Protection Programme Officer at The Ford Foundation/Middle East and North Africa, Eman Ismail, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) MENA regional representative, in addition to Koenraad Van Brabant, director and senior consultant at the Global Mentoring Initiative, who presented ARDD’s study titled “Strengthening the Localization in Jordan”, and Dr Sawsan Al Majali, co-founder of Durrat Almanal for Development and Training and member of the JONAF steering committee, who presented the output of the assessment of JONAF’s response to the pandemic.
The “Strengthening Localization in Jordan” report highlighted the challenges facing humanitarian work in Jordan and the importance of supporting and institutionalising it. Multiple recommendations came out of the report, such as the need to strike partnerships between local and international organizations, especially in setting visions, taking decisions and implementing aid and development projects, and breaking the stereotypes that portray local organizations as merely administrative executors of projects . It was also recommended that at least 25% of global humanitarian funding go to local and national responders, as stated in the Grand Bargain Agreement, while currently, local responders only receive around 0.2% of funding, which reveals a great gap between the goal and reality. Also recommended was the need to improve the quality of the global humanitarian funding to make it more flexible, sustainable, and protective of the local organizations’ cash flow.
One other recommendation, was to work toward greater transparency in managing and transferring resources to NGOs, by building trust and ensuring sustainability and the competence of investments of local and national actors, provide continuous support and develop the capacity of local and national institutions, and issue annual reports detailing the local humanitarian work funding.
In conclusion, the participants stressed the importance of intensifying, uniting and institutionalizing efforts to ensure the success and sustainability of humanitarian work during the current crisis, and to ensure preparedness for any future situations, thus leading to more resilient communities and vulnerable groups.