UNDP Signs Agreements with OFID in Support of East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip Projects

02 Apr 2014

Speech by UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator Mr Frode Mauring

Your Excellency Adnan Al Husseini
Mr Al-Herbish
Honourable Guests

Good afternoon and welcome to East Jerusalem. A city with a population that continues to suffer from policies of neglect and discrimination that violate even their most basic human rights not to mention the defiance of the occupying power to several Security Council resolutions.

UNDP, as the development arm of the UN, continues to strengthen the resilience of the Palestinian people by prioritizing its development investments where the needs are the most – East Jerusalem, Area C and Gaza.

Last week, UNDP signed agreements with ten NGOs to implement a USD 1.2 million project to support the resilience of Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem, with funding from the Governments of Austria and Sweden.

As a continuation of our commitment, the agreements we are signing this afternoon are critical to the health and housing sectors and fundamental to the people living in East Jerusalem and Gaza.

All the time, we are witness to Jerusalem institutions being closed, houses demolished, land confiscated, schools overcrowded, and infrastructure neglected.

• By the end of 2013, the Israeli authorities have demolished 1,230 buildings in East Jerusalem, displacing 5,419 people, including 2,832 children and 1,423 women.

• The Palestinian community in East Jerusalem requires approximately 1500 building permits each year. Unfortunately, Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality only issues 200.

• Thousands of housing units are deteriorated, and are in need of renovation and rehabilitation to enable Jerusalem families to live in adequate housing.

• Only six hospitals are available in East Jerusalem that provide specialized treatment and referral care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (510 beds, around 12% of the total available in Palestine).

In Gaza, the population is facing dire living conditions due to on going access restrictions of people and goods.

Energy shortages, combined with an unreliable electricity supply, undermine already precarious infrastructure and severely disrupts the provision of basic services, posing health and sanitation hazards.

UNDP and OFID have a longstanding partnership with the Palestinian people that started over 34 years ago.

UNDP is working together with the Palestinian government, and other actors to support the resilience of the Palestinian people and make a difference on the ground.

UNDP, as you do, operates in the spirit of South-South cooperation in pursuit of sustainable social and economic development.

We are also committed to achieving green sustainable development as we believe it is critical to link poverty reduction, social equity, and environmental sustainability together.

We are pleased to be working with OFID, the “champion” of energy poverty alleviation – as called by the UN Secretary General - in deploying renewable energy and fostering initiatives that have valuable environmental, economic and social impact on the Palestinian society.

We are aware of the challenges that lie ahead but every journey is shorter when taken with friends.

So let me thank you for your partnership with us, for your generous contribution and for this shared journey.

Shukran