Letter to Abdullah Ensour stressing that our national institutions work in a transparent manner

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Abdullah Ensour
RE: King: "Our national institutions function as one body, in harmony, integration and spirit of teamwork"
18 December 2013
Translated from Arabic

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate

Your Excellency Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour:

We extend to you, Cabinet members and all state institutions our greetings and good wishes for your relentless efforts to serve the country and the people in your different locations.

What makes me proud is that despite the difficult weather conditions Jordan has undergone in the recent days, which exceeded all expectations, is the high level of coordination, follow-up and performance within the available capabilities, exhibited by the various state agencies, civilian and military, as field reports indicate. We are also proud of the awareness our people have shown, as part of the whole picture of protecting the assets of the country and the interest of citizens.

In this context we underline an unchanging fact: Our national institutions, both the civilian and military, function as one body, in harmony, integration and the spirit of teamwork, with each filling the gaps left by the others, and with all working for the public good as a religious duty.

Therefore, after we have had a first-hand look at the efforts exerted, we have to extend our thanks and appreciation for all the cadres that performed their duties with a high sense of professionalism and responsibility. We salute the brave men and women in the service-providing ministries and agencies, municipalities, Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan Armed Forces, Civil Defence Department, Public Security Department and Gendarmerie Forces, who, as always, proved capable, within the available means, to jointly pre-plan, coordinate and follow up to manage the weather conditions that prevailed in the Kingdom. Their success was manifested in their ability to deliver people’s needs of bread, transporting patients to hospitals and opening blocked roads.

The Jordanian state of unity and solidarity we have witnessed under these difficult conditions is a testimony to the authenticity of our people’s sincerity, as they demonstrated generosity and altruism.

This national spirit gives us pride and confidence, as we have seen a state of awareness and sensitivity in all citizens, in addition to positive initiatives from the private enterprises and social institutions that reflect social and national responsibility that should be strengthened and built upon to underline the importance of social responsibility when dealing with similar extraordinary situations.

To them we extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation.

It is also necessary to reflect on how to channel these capabilities towards institutional voluntary work, and develop the role of the media and cultural institutions to raise the citizens’ awareness on how to deal with such natural occurrences, and how to prepare for them in the future.

Here, we sincerely thank the media outlets that played their role — professionally, objectively and impartially — in dealing with the blizzard and its consequences.

Your Excellency,
We have stressed on many occasions that serving Jordanian citizens is our main motive for change and for improving the performance of public service institutions to be up to their expectations. We have also maintained that these institutions are accountable before citizens, their representatives and civil society organisations to elicit a qualitative performance that mirrors the deep-rooted history of state bodies and their philosophy, which is based on safeguarding human dignity and pride — elements of the active citizenship that Jordan has taken as a way of life. Therefore, assessment, evaluation and a positive work spirit should serve as the basis when dealing with these challenges.

When it comes to reviewing and evaluating the state’s performance over the past few days, we stress the need to use objective facts and documented data as the basis for this assessment, which should be conducted with absolute neutrality, away from the exaggeration and negativity practised by those coveting popularity and false heroics, and with special focus on openness to honest, constructive criticism, which is the cornerstone for the reform that we believe in — in words and actions — to please God and protect our dear citizens’ rights to a better present and future.

One of the main aspects that require evaluation is the coordination mechanism between the concerned authorities, with the aim of reaching the best way to utilise available resources in priority areas at times of crises, based on previously set strategies and best practices.

As for the disruptions in some basic services, especially electricity — the lifeblood of our modern society, over the past few days due to the weather conditions, it is imperative that we pinpoint the reasons behind this failure to avoid their recurrence in the future, and hold those guilty of negligence accountable under the law with the utmost justice, taking into consideration the reality of resources and capabilities and the severity of the weather conditions, guided by international examples on how to deal with such emergencies and the response time to cope with their repercussions, for purposes of objectivity.

Swift action is also needed to assess shortcomings in infrastructure, redress them and draw up comprehensive emergency plans that address the challenges of organising traffic; providing main commodities and services; keeping the people informed of the latest developments through media channels with the utmost integrity and transparency; ensuring better coordination among hospitals and the various rescue teams; and raising citizens’ awareness of the dangerous practices that may hinder rescue efforts, to make them part of the solution, reaching a state of participatory responsibility and genuine patriotic commitment in dealing with crises — based on citizens’ role in practising active citizenship with its duties and rights on the one hand; and the actions of state institutions the private sector, civil society and media outlets on the other.

Over the past few days, Jordanians have proved their ability to join efforts and unify as one entity in dealing with crises and their ability to survive them with minimum losses.

We are proud of the way Jordanians joined together, supported and helped each other during the snowstorm, so much so that they have illustrated a model to be followed in assisting the needy, supporting those who are ill and sharing their food and means of heating.

This experience represents an important chance for making assessments and learning from mistakes and an opportunity to deal with and overcome loopholes and shortcomings.

This way, the performance of institutions that serve citizens during emergencies and difficult weather conditions will be developed to the highest level.

These are requirements that are essential to continuously deal with the fallout of the weather conditions including frost, and other forecast conditions, such as floods to contain them. They are also essential to prepare better for other similar weather conditions, especially as the current winter season is still in its beginning.

Accordingly, we are looking forward for speedy responsiveness and implementation and for the best preparations to deal with whatever new circumstances and challenges may arise, on the basis of collective responsibility, partnership and integral efforts.

We wish you success and, again, voice our appreciation for the cadres of all national agencies for their efforts to serve our dear country and dear people.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you,,,

Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein