Japan offers assistance to Palestinian reform

Palestinian travel document under the framework of the Oslo Accords (Photo: EI)

The Government of Japan has decided to implement, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the following three projects totaling 2.125 million US dollars to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) reform and improve the living conditions in the Palestinian Territories. These projects will be carried out under the assistance package of 22.25 million US dollars announced in April 2003 by Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

Improvement of Al-Bireh Solid Waste Dump Site (400,000 US dollars)

The condition of the solid waste dump site in Al-Bireh, a major city in the West Bank, has been posing a serious environmental problem. If the problem is left untouched, groundwater could be contaminated, giving rise to infectious diseases. The project is expected to halt further deterioration of the condition of the dump site. Japan is interested in the environmental improvement of the areas, as the chair of the Multilateral Working Group on the Environment of Middle-East peace process. As the coordinator of the PA Reform Support Group on local government, Japan is also interested in solving the issues facing the local governments.

Financial Support for the Procurement of Essential Commodities for Rafah Needy People (525,000 US dollars in total)

In Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, many families have lost their houses and household goods as a result of Israeli military operations. This project is intended to provide essential commodities such as clothing, shoes, blankets and pillows. As these goods will be procured locally, it is also expected to stimulate the languishing private sector. Goods will be provided with the cooperation of the PA (Ministry of Finance) and Rafah Municipality.

Strengthening the Institutional and Management Capacities of the Prime Minister’s Office and Other Key Ministries and Supporting PA Reform through the National UNV (United Nations Volunteers) and TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals) Programs (1,200,000 US dollars)

In cooperation with the international community, the PA is now trying to reform the seven fields of finance, local administration, market economy, administrative and civil services, judicial system, elections and legislation. Japan is actively extending assistance mainly in the field of local administration. This project will help the PA’s reform efforts by providing assistance in both hard and soft terms to build the capacity of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is the main player of PA’s reform, and other major ministries (Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Civil Affairs, and Ministry of Local Government), whose services are closely connected with the life of Palestinians.

The Government of Japan, by extending such assistance to enhance the PA’s efforts for peace, strongly expects that both Israelis and Palestinians will do their utmost to resume the Roadmap.

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