Supporting Greater Prosperity and Security for Palestinians

June 17, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today visited the West Bank to announce an immediate, $25-million contribution to aid Palestinians.

“Canada supports a better, brighter future for all Palestinians,” said Baird. “The quickest, most sure-fire way to realize the promise of increased prosperity and greater security is to stop negotiating about negotiations and return to the table without preconditions. That’s long been my position and that’s what we’re supporting here today.”

Baird announced up to $1.4 million in new support to the Office of the Quartet Representative. An additional $3.6 million will further the Palestinian Authority’s security system reforms and strengthen the rule of law in the West Bank.

The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, said from Ottawa that an additional $20 million in development assistance builds on previous Canadian contributions of $300 million over five years and will help meet urgent food and health needs while Canada considers future funding.

“Canada will make access to food, water and shelter available to address the basic needs of the most vulnerable Palestinians through reputable humanitarian partners,” said Minister Fantino. “Canada’s support will ensure that these essential goods and services are provided to those who need them most in a timely fashion. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Canada responds to the annual appeals issued by international and Canadian humanitarian agencies. The government understands the dignity that comes with providing for one’s family and knows that prosperity and security are intrinsically linked. The new funding announced today to assist the people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip responds to a consolidated appeal by the United Nations, in coordination with a range of non-governmental organizations, for more than $416 million.

Today’s nearly $20-million development assistance contribution will be distributed as follows:

CARE Canada, $2.5 million

Improving access to food in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

This project will assist people who could earn a living, but who do not currently produce enough to live, by distributing sheep, chickens, fodder and the provision of veterinary services to improve their access to food.

Some 1,500 families will benefit from improved access to food.

Oxfam Québec, $3.5 million

Improving lives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

This project will target the most marginalized people—the disabled, female-headed households, the elderly and the extremely poor—to help them buy the food they need through increasing their food production, which will in turn increase their income from agriculture.

Project activities will give extremely vulnerable families assistance to buy the food they need and improve their farming practices, and will include mobile veterinary clinics, distribution of drought-resistant seedlings and promotion of backyard gardens. Activities will also promote the safe use of pesticides and fertilizers, along with the efficient use of resources such as water.

The project aims to provide increased access to food for up to 8,000 families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

United Nations World Food Programme, $11 million

Food assistance for non-refugee Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Contributions from Canada will help the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) implement activities in emergency food assistance and food voucher distribution. The contribution will also support WFP cooperation with other agencies on coordinating, monitoring and reporting on the food security situation for non-refugee Palestinians.

In 2013, the WFP expects to reach 260,000 non-refugee Palestinians in the West Bank and 205,000 in the Gaza Strip.

Handicap International Canada, $945,000

Support for children with disabilities in the Gaza Strip

This project provides children with disabilities with essential health and rehabilitation services.

Activities include the provision of mobility devices or prosthetics for children with severe disabilities. Outreach teams, composed of 30 professionals, will provide rehabilitation services to children in their homes, working with families and patients to provide technical- and social-support services on a weekly basis.

About 3,030 children, about half of them girls, will benefit from health and medical services.

Save the Children Canada, $1.4 million

Health and child protection in the Gaza Strip

This project will target the poorest and most vulnerable children and their families with health and protection support in the Gaza Strip.

Activities will improve access to health services for children with special needs by providing medical services and making home visits. Training on health and nutrition will focus on mothers and their children. Protection support will be provided for the poorest children and their families, as will support to livelihoods and delivery of non-food items in response to immediate needs.

Some 8,600 children and their families will benefit.

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, $500,000

Humanitarian coordination, monitoring and reporting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Canada’s contribution will help the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to coordinate an effective humanitarian response in this highly complex environment. The UNOCHA coordinates the consolidated appeal and provides coordination, reporting and monitoring services for humanitarian projects throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.