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Palestinian Refugees (Government Contribution)

Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

The Government will make a contribution of £76.6 million to help meet the basic needs of Palestinian refugees across the middle east over the next four years.

Palestinian refugees are among the very poorest people in the middle east. Their poverty levels are increasing, particularly where affected by conflict and insecurity, such as in the Gaza strip where refugees make up 70 per cent. of the population.

The 4.3 million registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan and Syria need healthcare, education, housing, water and sanitation. The body charged with providing these basic services is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which needs predictable funding to ensure it can plan and prioritise its work

This £76.6 million package of support announced yesterday will help ensure that UNRWA can continue to deliver services to meet the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. The funding will be used to ensure pupils have more time at school, graduates are trained to find jobs quicker and small businesses have access to microfinance. By providing predictable funding over four years, DFID will enable UNRWA to plan its work better and ensure that effective help reaches those who need it the most. The funding is linked to a performance framework, developed with UNRWA and the European Community. This will enable the release of additional DFID funding as UNRWA improves its efficiency in management and service delivery. Other donors are considering a similar approach and we will continue to work with them and with UNRWA to improve the situation for Palestinian refugees in the middle east.