Amman, 30 October 2019 – UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, represented by Special Representative of the Administrator Ms Yvonne Helle, Dr Wasfi Al Kailani Executive Director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and Sheikh Azam Al-Khatib, General Director of Jerusalem Awqaf, signed a Statement of Intent to strengthen the effectiveness of their joint development efforts in support of the Palestinian population, particularly in East Jerusalem.
Dr Wasfi Al Kailani, Executive Director of the Hashemite Fund clarified that the agreement comes in light of His Majesty King Abdullah II’s continued calls for supporting the steadfastness of East Jerusalemites. “It is also a buildup on the Sultan Suleiman and Salah Eddin Streets project, which we signed and launched in April 2015; with more than 50% of it being achieved”. “The steadfastness of Jerusalemites is a school to learn from creative methods of work, and investment of potential opportunities in order to achieve sustainable development. The conservation and revitalization of East Jerusalem’s cultural heritage is a very important element in this regard. The new partnership agreement supports many opportunities that will advance socio-economic conditions of East Jerusalemites,” he added.
Sheikh Azam Al-Khatib, General Director of Jerusalem Awqaf explained that the agreement focuses on four major fields of development: 1) increasing access to quality of education; 2) improving economic productivity, with emphasis on Awqaf shops and assets; 3) revitalizing and unleashing the social and economic potential of cultural heritage; and 4) exploring innovative solutions and proper land use to increase access to the housing sector in East Jerusalem.
Ms Yvonne Helle, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, extended her profound respect for the leadership of His Majesty Kind Abdullah, as Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, in supporting the preservation of Jerusalem’s cultural, architectural, and social fabric. “For UNDP, supporting the resilience and development of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Area C and Gaza is a priority. We value our strong relationship with the Islamic Awqaf which contributed to job creation and improved services and livelihoods. The support provided has been instrumental not only to the restoration of Waqf buildings at Salah Eddin and Sultan Suleiman Streets, but also during the rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites in the old city of Jerusalem, and the establishment of three schools,” she added.
The signing ceremony was held in Amman on Wednesday, 30 October 2019.