Notwithstanding some proof of the Jordanian government’s commitment to achieving the goals, most efforts thus far have been fundamentally theoretical and preparatory, rooted in policy-drawing and strategy development. The SDGs have been partially integrated into government and private sector’s strategies, but Jordan’s ability to monitor SDG-related indicators remains severely limited. While the government usually blames exogenous factors - such as the influx of refugees from Syria - and lack of sufficient financing for the lack of progress made towards the achievement of SDGs, many of the targets require only policy changes. The areas that need most attention pertain to the SDG 1, 5, 8, 10 and 16.
Overview of climate change
The water scarcity in Jordan, due to the configuration of the territory but also to the water politics implemented by Israel since 1967, has been further affected by climate change. The country has an average of only 88 cubic meters per person per year (as per 2017), while only 5% of land receives a sufficient amount of rainwater to support cultivation, and 80% of Jordan’s land area is considered arid. Jordan increased its independence in terms of energy sources, with now 15% of the energy used in Jordan coming from solar energy. While some initiatives have been taken, the majority of policy-makers do not see climate change as a priority, lacking a holistic view of the larger implications of this issue on the general welfare and economy of the country.
Civil society priorities
Civil society's most crucial demands to the government at the moment are: Amending laws and policies in order to guarantee the freedom of expression, association, collective bargaining, peaceful assembly, and the freedom of action for CSOs; Strengthening dialogue with civil society actors and promote their involvement in developing, implementing and monitoring national strategies for the achievement of the SDGs; Integrating all SDG principles and targets into the national agenda.
Civil society engagement
In addition to ANND, Phenix Center as a member of ‘HEMAM’ Jordanian CSOs coalition regularly engages with relevant government ministries. As part of its work, Phenix Center also promotes a wider participation of CSOs in the development process, working for the inclusion of more CSOs in the dialogue with the government in Jordan. Furthermore, HEMAM is a member of the Higher Committee of Sustainable Development in Jordan, established by the government.
Some materials related to the SDGs have been translated into Arabic, however crucial documents, such as the VNR developed in 2017, are still not available in Arabic. The government’s efforts in the SDGs are still scarce and civil society remains largely disregarded as a partner in development. Although awareness-raising efforts have been carried out by UN agencies and few other institutions, civil society and the general public remain largely unaware of the SDGs. Although CSOs seem to be the only one actively interested in the achievement of the SDGs, they often lack technical capacity to advocate for their protection and advancement, and to promote their agendas. To address this, Phenix Center is investing efforts in CSOs capacity building and training.