United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) hosted Dr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman in Jordan, as part of the series of UCLG-MEWA Local Government Talks entitled “The Role of Local Governments in the Fight Against Coronavirus and Normalization” on September 3, 2020.

At the beginning of the interview, Dr. Youssef Al-Shawarbeh talked about the pandemic and its spread around the world, noting that most countries in the world and thus municipalities in Jordan had not had sufficient experience to deal with such situations before. He continued and stated that the pandemic had affected everyone, forcing all countries around the world unite and work as one team against one enemy. He also highlighted the impact of the virus on Greater Amman Municipality in particular, and said that the municipality had started reviewing its emergency plans and the way of dealing with such exceptional circumstances, in addition to reevaluating the performance of the municipality in general.

Mayor Al-Shawarbeh further shed light on Jordan’s outstanding performance in combating the virus, especially during its peak period around the world. He informed the viewers that strong measures had been taken from the beginning and under the direct supervision of King Abdullah II, such as closure of airports and borders, even those between cities, as well as schools and universities. He stated that these measures and precautions had a clear positive impact in containing the virus. He added cities and public institutions had also been sterilized, and firm restriction had been placed on the purchase mechanism from public stores. As for the precautions that have been taken by the Greater Amman Municipality, he mentioned that the municipality had sterilized the whole city without exception, including commercial centers, public facilities, crowded streets and areas of Amman Municipality. He also added the efficiency of waste collection in the city had also been monitored.

Mayor Al-Shawarbeh stressed the importance of the role of municipalities in this period as they are the closest level of government to citizens. He also mentioned how the virus had a direct economic impact on the budget of the Greater Amman Municipality. He assured that they were working on developing plans to recover from this economic crisis, which includes more restrictions on expenditures.

Towards the end of the interview, the Mayor sent a message to the Jordanians and, in particular, to the people of Amman urging them to take necessary personal precautions against the virus. Following that, he affirmed he was proud of being an active member of UCLG World Organization and UCLG-MEWA, noting that continuous cooperation and exchange of experiences have a very important role, especially in facing such difficult circumstances. He ended his words saying, “I believe in the role of all institutions and organizations that work on joint cooperation between municipalities, with the aim of exchanging experiences and skills for our cities’ greater good.”

You can watch the full talk here.

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