28 February 2004
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
On behalf of the Jordan-based United Nations Agencies, I am pleased to send you the Annual
Resident Coordinator Report (2003), drafted in accordance with the guidelines established by the
UN Development Group Office. The contents of the Annual Report was discussed and fully
endorsed by the Jordan Country Team within the framework of the annual UN Retreat held on
13-14 January 2004.
Over the past year, the Jordan-based United Nations Agencies faced unprecedented challenges
related to the severe escalation of regional tensions. The war on Iraq and subsequent terrorist
attack against the Baghdad-UN Office put an extraordinary strain on the UN Country Team
which was requested to operate urgent adjustments related to (1) the need for contingency
planning and support to the implementation of humanitarian aid to Iraq, (2) coordinated
responses to emergencies.
In parallel, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator strived to strengthen its substantive
support to the twofold coordination process established (1) to foster inter-agency coherence and
coordination and (2) to spearhead the Donor/Lender Consultation Group and Sub-Groups
through high level information sharing, joint analysis of major obstacles to national development
and harmonized planning to improve aid delivery policies and mechanisms.
In a country located at strategic center stage, characterized in 2003 by a massive increase of
donor/lender assistance, the Country Team reaffirms its commitment to the UN Reform seen as
a necessary framework for improved UN visibility and credibility. This commitment in principle
is concretized through Agencies’ strengthened support to and participation in UN joint processes
and initiatives led by the Resident Coordinator.
Keeping in mind the primary role of the UN as a dynamic platform for advocacy and policy
orientation/dialogue, creative attention is paid by UN Agencies to the constructive outcome of
the Jordan-based Donor/Lender Consultation Group Process (see “Best practices” annex). In
2003, this process leads to a high level dialogue with governmental partners focusing on specific
recommendations for changes in sectors acknowledged as fundamental to national development
(for example democratic governance and public sector reform).
In 2004, the priority will be to ensure full UN compliance with policy and institutional
requirements while using the core resources in a more strategic and innovative fashion. Based
upon the outcome of the UN Retreat (early 2004), a number of measures will be spearheaded by
the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator:
(1) Increased corporate awareness and team building based upon an internalized understanding
of the UN primary role and core values;
(2) Clarification of roles and responsibilities;
(3) Further streamlining of the UN agenda in Jordan, prioritizing activities and projects
acknowledged for their value added and relevance;
(4) Training and capacity building for UN staff (focusing on planning, analysis, communication,
Results Based Management (RBM) and reporting skills);
(5) Strengthened communication with non-UN partners, using the existing mechanisms and
(6) Professional empowerment of civil society organizations expected to increase their support
to UN work at national level;
(7) Strengthened support to major national partners mandated to plan and manage the foreign
assistance to Jordan.
Jordan in 2003
Over the past year, the Jordanian domestic scene has been deeply affected by the regional
developments and their de facto or expected repercussions on the Kingdom. The frustration
generated by the lack of progress with the Israeli-Palestinian road map and by the perceived
absence of decisive US pressure on Israel’s Government added to the tension generated by the
war on Iraq and lead to a severe strengthening of domestic “security” during the first part of 2003.
However, new Parliamentary elections were held in June 2003, opening the way for a political
liberalization process now pursued by the Government formed in November 2003.
In terms of its economic policy, Jordan continues to follow IMF prescriptions and relies heavily
upon an enhanced growth rate (estimated 5%) in 2004 and 2005.
The developmental focus remains on “Education and Knowledge Development” through the
comprehensive multi-donor Education Reform for Knowledge Economy Programme seen as a
major tool for human resources development, employment creation and increased foreign
investment in Jordan.
The real GDP growth for 2003 is estimated at 3%, which is lower than expected. This is mainly
due to the effective closing of the Iraqi market for much of the first half of 2003 and to a
slackening in Indian demand. The new 2004 Budget emphasizes frugality and reduced spending,
mainly to control the impact of more expensive oil imports. However, signs of a revival of the
domestic economy are registered and further measures are expected to boost the private sector in
2004 and 2005.
Jordan remains strongly dependant on foreign assistance. In 2003, the US aid package (over US$
1 bn) was extended to help Jordan offset the impact of the war on Iraq. However, the Overall
Development Assistance to Jordan is expected to substantially decrease as from 2004, generating
new challenges for a country striving to sustain its development process at fast speed.
Domestic agenda for national development
In December 2003, in his address to Jordan’s Parliament, the newly appointed Prime Minister
Faisal Fayez highlighted seven priority areas of the national strategy for development. These
seven challenges are further highlighted by the National Social and Economic Action Plan
presented by the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation to the Donor/Lender Group
in November 2003:
(i) the promotion of / support to good governance and institutional reform;
(ii) the need to alleviate poverty through e.g. improved education and training
compatible with increased employment opportunities;
(iii) judicial reform and the protection of citizens’ rights (including women’s protection
against discrimination and injustice);
(iv) an appropriate restructuring of the media sector as well as new incentives to boost
private sector development are now seen by all partners in national development as
basic challenges to be addressed in a well coordinated and effective fashion.
The UN in Jordan
Although limited in volume, the UN resources in 2003 were used in a more strategic and/or
experimental manner with a view to (1) enhancing the UN System’s influence on the donor/lender
policies and operational priorities and (2) acting as a “path finder” through RCS small scope/
experimental projects designed to assess the relevance and adequacy of selected ideas. Successful
(preferably small grants) projects should subsequently be used by the UN Team to raise funds to
initiate further activities.
The UN-Donor/Lender Workshop on “Experiences and Obstacles in the Implementation of
Governance Projects in Jordan”(Amman, September 2003) provided in this perspective an
organizational framework and critical mass seen as basic success factors for effective
coordination. The outcome and specific recommendations of the mentioned Workshop –
discussed at the highest governmental level in October 2003- should be seen as a positive example
of “what the UN can do” at national level.
Common premises and services :
(1) The UN feasibility study completed year 1999 highlighted the substantial cost increase
attached to the establishment of a Jordan-UN House. However, in view of the existing
security situation and MOSS requirements, new efforts are being made to identify
suitable and compliant UN premises facilitating an improved and MOSS compliant
clustering of UN Agencies;
(2) The CAST (Common Administrative Task Force) continues to explore the relevance of
pooled/shared UN services, keeping in mind the need for all Agencies to use joint cost
saving services: the Common Travel Agency –housed in the UN Building– is maintained,
based on the CT assessment of the quality of its services; the need to promote a common
UN status in terms of privileges and immunities is discussed at CT level; joint
agreements in terms of telephone lines, IT maintenance and forwarding agents are being
discussed by CAST;
(3) Due to the war on Iraq and subsequent implications on neighbouring countries, the
Country Team maintained its focus on emergency and security related issues during the
major part of 2003. The Contingency Planning process, the joint establishment of a UN
Security Plan and its implementation at Jordan-level remain today a successful example
of Country Team coordination and cooperation. Shared UN Security Officers, mandated
by UNSECOORD to assist the Country Team in meeting the new requirements played an
important role, acknowledged as such by all UN Agencies;
(4) A range of new ICT initiatives were completed in 2003 to improve the UN visibility at
country level while further highlighting UN goals and priorities. The establishment of a
Jordan-UN Website –including a multi sector database created in cooperation with the
Donor/Lender Group- is seen as an effective device for strengthened coordination and the
long overdue harmonization of developmental projects in Jordan; the Jordan DevNet
Website (hosting e.g. the MDG data base) was updated and improved through SRCF
support while discussions were initiative by the UNDAF Working Group on Social
Development to make DEVINFO and the ArabWomen Connect Web portal
complementary tools available to the development community.
(5) In 2003, the Country Team improved its advocacy and public information role through a
number of events focusing on selected UN goals. A number of UN days (International
Women’s Day, Day against Desertification, UN Day, AIDS Day, and the Human Rights
Day) were commemorated through well attended events, specially produced video shows
and well broadcast discussions focusing on MDGs and the role of the UN in
development. In 2004, new measures will be taken and mechanisms established to
strengthen the Country Team’s Communication and Public Information capacity.
UNDAF implementation in Jordan
In the aftermath of the war on Iraq (09/03-12/03), the UNDAF implementation process was duly
initiated through five inter agency “pilot projects” in the field of democratic governance and
human rights (the latter being perceived as stemming from the UN global mandate versus
agencies’ specific mandate).
To adjust to both national and donor priorities while avoiding a counter-productive spreading of
scarce UN resources on multiple initiatives/areas, focused initiatives were selected by the
UNDAF Working Group to ensure basic human rights training to strategic target groups (judges,
lawyers…) and institutional partners representing a corner stone in this field. The Parliament of
Jordan was identified as a key project beneficiary while agreements were signed with selected
NGOs and with the newly established National Center for Human Rights.
In 2004, new projects will be implemented through the University of Jordan, the National Center
for Human Rights and the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies to strengthen and expand the
initial training targeting Parliamentarians, Judges, junior lawyers and the national police
In the specific area of “local governance/community development”, a promising partnership with
a local NGO (Sweileh Community Development Center) was established to implement a pilot
scheme promoting citizens’ awareness and rights to good governance.
(Nota Bene: The attached “Report on the Utilization of SRCF funds for 2003” highlights the
projects identified by the UNDAF working groups in 2003)
MDGs process in Jordan.
The MDG Jordan Report was prepared by the Country Team in 2003 in collaboration with the
Government. Acting as the MDGs Campaign Manager, UNDP supported the Ministry of
Planning and International Cooperation, which represents the national authorities in this
The MDG Report, prepared by Technical Thematic Groups ensuring a broad participation
reflects information comprised in the national projects designed by major partners in
development. The participation in the process is seen as fundamental, as it generates MDGs
awareness raising while strengthening partnerships in national development.
The Report will be disseminated to support advocacy through media involvement, information
sharing, dialogue and improved understanding on all levels. Furthermore, it will include a
costing analysis highlighting budgeting requirements and required resource mobilization to
achieve the goals. A MDG database is now available to help the advocacy, information and
monitoring process. The completion of the Report in 2003 was hindered by the diversion of the
Government and Un Agencies’ attention to the war in Iraq followed by the emergency evacuation
from Baghdad in August.
Priorities for the Country Team:
(1)UN Team building based upon an internalised understanding of the UN Reform philosophy
must be sustained to allow the Jordan-based UN System to speak with one voice in all
circumstances and on all issues;
(2)Clear decisions need to be taken at the highest level to (a) ensure that all Agencies working
at country level obtain clear support and incentives from their respective Headquarters
and to (b) consolidate the leadership and specific role of the UN Resident Coordinator
vis-à-vis the Agencies, Programmes and Funds;
(3)Strengthened efforts are needed to sensitize and raise awareness on the UN Reform among
UN Staff members expected to reflect their management’s commitment at the operational
(4)The UN primary role as an effective platform for communication and dialogue must be
consolidated at national level; Agencies’ internal and external communication capacity
should be optimised to ensure strategic information sharing seen as a prerequisite for
(5)The UN planning capacity must be improved to ensure that all initiatives are MDG and
UNDAF compliant, realistic in scope and coverage and coordinated with the broader
(6) The burden of existing UN rules and regulations needs to be alleviated to facilitate the
implementation of the new “DGO guidelines for joint programming”;
(7) The monitoring and assessment of UN projects/initiatives must be substantially
strengthened and their overall impact taken into account;
(8) Combining efforts, experiences and expertise of the various UN Agencies to result in
strengthened multi-faceted initiatives aims at achieving a unified objective through
relying on the expertise of specialized agencies. Coordination and increased
communication among members of the RCS would also result in avoiding duplication and
repetition especially when many UN organizations share the same areas of concern and
Building upon the reported results for 2003, further efforts will be sustained in 2004 to streamline
the UN agenda in Jordan, to strengthen the established mechanisms and to foster the enhanced
commitment to joint programming with a view to making the UN System a central actor in the
field of assistance planning and management at national level.
On behalf of the Jordan-based United Nations Agencies, I wish to reaffirm, Mr. Secretary
General, the expression of my highest consideration.
UN Resident Coordinator