A high-level delegation from the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency visits UNRWA facilities in Jordan and the West Bank – Jordan
A high-level delegation from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), led by the Agency’s Director, Antón Leis García, accompanied by members of AECID in Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, concluded a two-day visit to the United Nations Relief Agency and the facilities of the Palestine Refugee Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA) in Aida camp in the occupied West Bank and in the camp of Baqa’a in Jordan.
In the West Bank, the delegation was welcomed by the Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs in the West Bank, Dorothee Klaus, who briefed them on the operational context, programmatic priorities, achievements and challenges facing both the UNRWA and residents of Palestinian refugee camps. The delegation was also briefed on protection challenges and risks throughout the occupied West Bank, with a particular focus on Aida camp.
In Jordan, the delegation, joined by Spain’s Ambassador to Jordan, Miguel de Lucas, was received by UNRWA’s Deputy Director for Jordanian Affairs, Olaf Becker, and UNRWA’s Chief of Staff, Ben Majekodunmi, at the UNRWA Baqa’a Preparatory Girls’ school where they learned about the Agency’s programs, in particular, issues relating to education, protection and environmental health, as well as the project funded by AECID in the Baqa’a camp. This was followed by an interactive dialogue with members of the UNRWA Student Parliament and a visit to an UNRWA health centre.
UNRWA’s Deputy Director for Affairs, Olaf Becker, said: “UNRWA is grateful to the Government of Spain and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation for their strong support to UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees in the region. Such support to the Agency’s program budget and projects ensures the continued provision of quality services, modernization and contributes to stability in the region.
AECID is currently funding a pilot project in the Baqa’a camp and is to be rolled out to many other camps after the pilot project ends. The project includes a study on the feasibility of recycling opportunities, the assessment of the camp water supply network, the feasibility of water collection systems in UNRWA facilities, the management of solid waste and green spaces. The project is expected to be rolled out to ten more camps with a focus on environmental sustainability, solid waste management and improving accessibility in shelters for people with disabilities.
AECID Director, Antón Leis García, said: “In a difficult regional and global context, our collaboration with UNRWA is more important than ever. As part of an innovative new step in this partnership, UNRWA and AECID will work in Baqa’a to improve the daily lives of Palestinian refugees by improving access to basic services and promoting a cleaner environment. We are convinced that the involvement of AECID in this pilot phase will help to expand the project in the future with additional financial support from other partners.
Spain’s contribution to UNRWA includes both Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AECID funds and decentralized contributions. In 2021, the country’s contribution amounted to €17.4 million, including an extraordinary contribution of €3 million to the program budget in response to the November 2021 International Conference.
About the AECI:
The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) is the main management body of Spanish Cooperation, oriented towards the fight against poverty and sustainable human development. According to its Statute, the Agency was created to promote the full exercise of development, conceived as a fundamental human right, the fight against poverty being part of the process of building this right. To this end, it follows the guidelines of the 5th Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation, paying attention to the cross-cutting elements of Spanish cooperation: the approach based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, the gender perspective, quality of the environment and respect for cultural diversity. , in line with the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 and which will govern global development plans for the next 15 years. It sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include ending global poverty, eradicating hunger and achieving food security, ensuring healthy lives and quality education , achieving gender equality, access to water and energy, promoting sustained economic growth, taking urgent action on climate change, promoting peace and facilitating access to Justice.
The AECID is attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation through the State Secretariat for International Cooperation and Ibero-America and the Caribbean.
AECID, together with its partners, works in more than 30 countries through its network of technical cooperation offices, cultural centers and training centers.
UNRWA faces an increased demand for services resulting from an increase in the number of registered Palestinian refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their growing poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been exceeded by growing needs. As a result, UNRWA’s program budget, which supports the delivery of basic essential services, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to make every effort to fully fund the Agency’s program budget. UNRWA’s emergency programs and key projects, which also operate with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.7 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in its five areas of operation. Its mission is to help Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to realize their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their fate. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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