Before the pandemic, the human security situation in Jordan was already complex, at times particularly fragile. COVID-19 and the economic crisis that ensued negatively impacted all aspects of security and will continue to do so unless fundamental changes are adopted.
It has been argued that “Jordan had a good coercive mechanism to institute a lockdown but was structurally ill-equipped to deal with a large outbreak”. While the government managed to contain the health crisis to a large degree, the economic and political consequences of the measures adopted are having a profound impact, especially on the most affected groups: people with disabilities, day laborers, the elderly, women, children, migrants and refugees, and host communities. They have even the potential to intensify undemocratic/authoritarian and non-inclusive trends.
Analyzing and understanding the human security context in Jordan is bound to provide an essential indicator of how the country will cope in the aftermath of COVID-19. This analysis adopts a gendered human security approach to look at the seven areas of human security in Jordan, namely, economic, health, food, environment, personal, community, and political, and suggest different scenarios regarding the impact of COVID-19 on human security.
The report uses a gender lens in its analysis and gives voice to women to come up with gender-responsive recovery solutions. A gendered human security approach ensures a truly comprehensive and people-centered analysis of measures suggested to respond to current challenges.
The importance of the report, which was co-edited by Dr. Sawsan Al Majali, lies in its documentation of the digital consultations and sessions of experts that directly monitored the changes during the pandemic’s developments and procedures such as lockdowns, among others. It is the result of an effort exerted by civil society stakeholders to outline, through consensus, possible intervention strategies that aim to minimize the adverse effects of the health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic impact.
The scenarios and recommendations proposed are the result of online discussions facilitated by ARDD and the Jordan NGOs Forum (JONAF) by a group of social protection specialists, including activists, academics, politicians, and civil society representatives from Jordan and the region. The sessions, hosted by Dr. Sawsan Majali, Reem Abu Hassan, Manal Al-Wazani, Dr. Sarah Ababneh, Linda Kalash, Dr. Lina Shabib, Dr. Salma Nims, Dr. Ibrahim Aqel, Dr. Abla Amawi, Dr. Raeda Qutb, Dr. Yusuf Mansur, Dr. Maha Al Ali, Dr. Muhannad Al-Azza and Samar Muharib, covered various factors (political, economic, legislative, social and technological) related to the impact of the pandemic.
The report made several recommendations, the most important of which are: Revising the government’s development strategies with the support of civil society and experts, developing an efficient scheme to monitor laws introduced during the pandemic, to ensure that there is no overlapping or conflict with other laws and fundamental human rights, developing policies that improve employment rates and increase the number of income-generating activities, reduce income inequality and ensure that no one is left behind, and enhancing inclusive universal social protection coverage through a life-cycle approach (from childhood to old age).