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SDC launches a new CHF 20 million program to strengthen local governance for Palestinian democratic state-building in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

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The Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC) launches a new Swiss program of CHF 20 millions to strengthen local governance for Palestinian democratic state-building in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. By the agreement signed today with the Palestinian Authority, Switzerland joins forces with other donors to fund the Municipal Development & Lending Fund. Earlier this week, SDC also signed an agreement with the German International Cooperation. The total amount for the first phase of the program reaches CHF 5 million for 2013-2015

Today, the Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Jerusalem Mrs. Veronique Hulmann signed a bilateral contract for Switzerland’s CHF 3 million contribution to the Palestinian Municipal Development program (2013-2015) implemented by the Municipal Development & Lending Fund (MDLF). Earlier this summer, SDC also signed an agreement with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) amounting for CHF 1.25 million for two years. These events mark the launch of a new Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC) program to strengthen local governance for Palestinian democratic state-building in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip amounting CHF 20 millions until 2021.

"SDC is joining efforts with the Palestinian Authority and its partners to build a democratic Palestinian State accountable to its citizens at local level. SDC aims to make a difference by building on its long-term worldwide experience in local governance and its expertise on civil society participation in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank" said Veronique Hulmann, the Director of Cooperation of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Jerusalem.

The Swiss program will ensure that citizens in the occupied Palestinian territory receive efficient, accountable and socially inclusive public services from local authorities. In partnership with MDLF and GIZ it will strengthen municipal responsiveness and service delivery, with particular focus on social accountability - empowering citizens (men and women) to demand their rights and hold local governance units accountable through active participation. The Swiss interventions will particularly pay attention to bridging the gap between West Bank and Gaza.

The Swiss program is based on a multi-tiered approach with three complementary components. Through MDLF and GIZ as its two main implementing partners, the program will support the Palestinian national system, developing new approaches improving service delivery and strengthening social accountability. In addition, the Swiss program will sponsor Research & Development activities to inform strategic orientations, support evidence-based and forward-looking policy dialogue on issues of particular interest to Palestinian democratic state-building.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Veronique Hulmann (details below)

Swiss Cooperation Office Gaza & West Bank
Telephone: +972 2 5824194 - Fax: +972 2 582 37 57
E-mail:gaza@sdc.net
Website: www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/gazaandwestbank