European Union and Belgium contribute €9.8 million to support Palestinian families living in extreme poverty in the West Bank and Gaza
The European Union and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium are joining forces to make this year's third contribution to the Palestinian Authority's quarterly payment of social allowances to poor Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza. The contribution, channelled through PEGASE, amounts to €9.8 million, including €9 million from the Government of Belgium and €0.8 million from the European Union.
Eligible beneficiaries, identified in cooperation with the PA Ministry of Finance, are households living in extreme poverty receiving assistance in the framework of the national Cash Transfer Programme (CTP), run by PA Ministry of Social Affairs. Introduced in 2010, the CTP is designed to provide basic safety net to the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, through cash and in-kind assistance.
The Representative of the Government of Belgium, Mr Geert Deserranno, said:
“The main objective of the Belgian Development cooperation is to realise sustainable development through combating poverty. The PEGASE mechanism is perfect to advance towards reaching this goal”.
The European Union Representative, Mr John Gatt-Rutter said:
"Our longstanding contribution to the payment of social allowances underlines the EU's commitment to work closely with the Palestinian Authority to ensure that those Palestinian families who struggle to make ends meet are not forgotten. This is complementary to our work with the PA Ministry of Social Affairs to develop a social protection scheme that cares for those facing real economic or social hardship. This is all the more essential in periods of deepening fiscal crisis, as the one Palestine is currently witnessing", said the EU Representative. "Following the last donors meeting in New York, where the financial difficulties of the PA were at the centre of the discussion, I take this opportunity to reiterate the need for all donors to maintain their support and ensure that the PA can continue to provide essential public services to Palestinian citizens", he added.
The contribution, equivalent to €9.8 million, will reach 59,599 Palestinian families in need – with over half of the target population living in Gaza.
Payments are made across a network of local banks. In Gaza, where payments are processed over-the-counter, beneficiaries may collect their allowance at the bank branch indicated by their social worker from 6 October to 1 November 2012. Beneficiaries living in the West Bank may collect their allowance, directly from their individual bank accounts, as of 7 October.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent PA Palestinian National Plan (2011-2013). As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood in line with the plan put forward by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in August 2009. Since February 2008, €1.34 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA and a wide range of cooperation projects.
The global amount of Belgian assistance for oPt from 2008 to 2011 was about €20 million per year, most of which is channeled through agreements with the PA and UNRWA. After the new cooperation agreement of November 2011, the global Belgian assistance for oPt increased to about €30 million per year. Belgium mainly finances the sectors of education and local governance.
For further information in Arabic and English on the EU's assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory and the PEGASE mechanism, please visit: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/
The Office of the European Union Representative Antonia Zafeiri, Tel: +972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mobile +972 (0) 548 024 915 Shadi Othman,Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958 http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/
The Consulate General of Belgium Geert Deserranno, Tel: +972 (0) 2 582 0199, St. +972 (0) 582 8713 http://www.diplomatie.be/jerusalem