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UN Relief and Works Agency

Volume 518: debated on Wednesday 17 November 2010

12. What recent assessment he has made of the value for money of his Department’s aid delivered through the UN Relief and Works Agency. (24347)

UNRWA is performing well against agreed performance indicators and delivering value for money with United Kingdom funding. For instance, it is delivering teaching to nearly half a million children, and social services to more than a quarter of a million. During my recent visit to the Palestinian territories, I announced an extra £8 million to reward UNRWA’s good performance and ease its budget shortfall.

During a recent visit to Gaza, it was obvious that UNRWA was struggling to obtain the construction materials that it needs to rebuild schools and find housing for refugees. Does the Minister agree that DFID would derive greater value for money if the partial blockade were completely lifted?

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I am glad that he was able to see the situation in Gaza for himself.

Although some progress has been made since Israel eased access restrictions, UNRWA is still unable to import the volume of reconstruction materials that it needs. Any restricted access enhances the tunnel economy and risks putting revenue straight into the hands of Hamas, which in itself is entirely counter-productive.