Press Release - European Union Jerusalem PR/06/2015
The European Union is making this year's first contribution to the Palestinian Authority's payment of social allowances to poor and vulnerable Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza. The €14 million contribution, channelled through PEGASE, includes funds from the EU budget (€12.50 million) and the Government of Austria (€1.5 million)
Palestinian households living in extreme poverty receive assistance through the national cash transfer programme administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The programme provides a basic safety-net to the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through cash and in-kind assistance.
This contribution covers over 40% of the total cost of providing cash assistance to nearly 119,000 households living in poverty. More than 60% live in Gaza.
"Social protection is a major investment to the EU, and will remain so in 2015. This year, €40 million have already been committed by the EU to partially cover the cost of the Palestinian cash transfer programme. This amount includes €10 million, pledged during the Cairo Conference of 12 October 2014, to provide a quick response to support those households in Gaza which find themselves below the poverty level as a result of the 2014 war", said the EU Representative, John Gatt-Rutter. "Over 4,000 new households in Gaza are benefiting from this payment, and more are expected to be reached by the end of the year. But more needs to be done: seven months after the end of the hostilities and its disastrous consequences, the needs in Gaza remain great, and there are serious concerns over the availability, access and sustainability of basic services to population, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable."
Payments are made through a network of local banks in Gaza and the West Bank.
This contribution represents the first tranche of the EU's financial commitment in 2015 of €40 million earmarked for cash allowances for households living in extreme poverty in the West Bank in Gaza. In line with the needs identified by the Ministry of Social Affairs during the Cairo Conference of 12 October 2014, this amount includes €10 million for new households in Gaza which have fallen into poverty as a result of the 2014 hostilities. With this amount, an estimated 10,000 new households in Gaza fulfilling the criteria of the cash transfer programme will benefit from a number of quarterly payments in 2015.
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 Palestinian national plans. As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of the PA's running costs, European Union funds are supporting major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood. Since February 2008, over €1.8 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE direct financial support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA as well as a wide range of other cooperation projects.
The Office of the European Union Representative Shadi Othman,Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958 / http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/