April 1, 2006
Following elections in the West Bank and Gaza, a new Hamas-led government was sworn-in on March 29. The same day, Canada announced that it is suspending all projects providing direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and restructuring projects which may be of indirect benefit to the PA. This decision was made because the new Hamas-led government has not addressed the concerns raised by Canada and others concerning non-violence, the recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap for Peace. Canada continues to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people through multilateral institutions and other partners.
Four operational projects with a total value of $7.34 million over four years are being suspended.
Housing Rehabilitation and Policy Development (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, PA Ministry of Public Works and Housing and PA Ministry of Finance, $6.3 million, 2005-08): to assist the PA in the field of housing both at the policy and operational levels.
Refurbishment and Management of Ramallah Municipal Industrial Park (Federation of Canadian Municipalities, City of Ramallah, $400,000, 2005-07): to assess the feasibility of assisting the Ramallah Municipality to refurbish and manage its industrial park.
Middle East 4 Meeting (Justice Canada, $600,000, 2005-06): to convene justice ministers from the PA, Israel, Jordan and Egypt to engage in an annual justice dialogue.
English Language Training for Palestinian Security Officials (Canadian Foreign Affairs Department assistance to the PA, $41,000)
Canadian officials are taking steps to restructure operational projects with components that provided indirect assistance to the PA or its officials, or that entailed systematic engagement with the PA. The project restructuring is being addressed on a case-by-case basis to eliminate any PA involvement. An effort is being made to ensure that the objectives of the project are achieved and the humanitarian needs of Palestinian population are met. The projects include:
Judicial Independence and Human Dignity (University of Windsor, BirZeit University and the Palestinian High Judicial Council, $4.5 million, 2005-09): which seeks to train Palestinian judges on issues such as judicial independence and human rights.
Palestinian Municipal Management, Phase 2 (Federation of Canadian Municipalities, municipalities of Rafah and Khan Yunis, PA Ministry of Local Government, $3.2 million, 2003-06): to improve the management capacity of municipalities and encourage citizens’ participation in municipal affairs.
Education Capacity Building (UNICEF, $5 million, 2005-06): to improve teaching methods across the West Bank and Gaza.
Governance Capacity Project (managed by the Canadian Representative Office in Ramallah, $417,000, 2005-08) which seeks to provide advice and support to CIDA and the PA for public sector reform.
Child Friendly Cities (UNICEF, $3.5 million, 2004-07): to improve local-level planning and services for children in six Palestinian cities.
Child Wellbeing Phase 2 (Secretariat for the National Plan of Action for Palestinian Children, and the Ministry of Education, $3 million, 2004-07): to improve coordination and services for children in the area of safe learning and play environment and psycho-social counseling.
Technical & Vocational Training for Palestinian Women (World University Services of Canada, Alternatives, PA Ministry of Social Affairs, $3.8 million, 2002-06): to empower low-income women to improve their economic conditions through the provision of training and other development initiatives.
Middle East Capacity Building Fund ($500,000, 2005-07): to respond rapidly to Palestinian development needs with Canadian technical expertise. No ongoing project activities at present.
Canada will continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance that does not benefit the Palestinian Authority. These programs will be implemented through multilateral and other partners, including Canadian and local NGOs, institutions and private sector organizations.
Between 1993 and 2004, Canada allocated on average $25 million a year for development initiatives in the West Bank and Gaza, focused on social development, governance, civil society capacity building and refugees/peace-building. By the end of 2005, Canada’s disbursements reached a total of $333 million.
Ongoing initiatives include:
UNRWA humanitarian support for Palestinian refugees, including support for microcredit, job creation and shelter rehabilitation ($12 million, 2005-07), refugee camp upgrading ($6.5 million, 2003-06), management reform ($129,000, 2006), and refugee record systems development ($1.2 million, 2004-08).
Palestine Trade Centre ($5 million, multi year): to support the private sector association of Palestinian exporters to compete internationally and access regional and global markets. Project remains at the planning stage.
Provision of Border Management Expertise ($500,000, 2005-07): A Canadian border management expert is deployed to the US Security Coordinator team.
Expert Advisory Services Fund (International Development Research Centre, $5 million, 2001-07): to support planning, policy development, research and dialogue on peace and refugee issues.
Scholarship fund for Palestinian Refugee Women (International Development Research Centre, UNRWA, $1.5 million, 2000-09): to support the professional development of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon.
CIDA also continues to support civil society strengthening and peacebuilding initiatives with Canadian and local partners.
Support to Central Election Commission, Palestinian Elections and Canadian Observation Mission (three projects, $3.9 million, 2005-06): to contribute to fair and effective legislative elections process. This project has been completed.
Support to Rule of Law and Judiciary (UNDP, $500,000, 2005-06): to strengthen rule of law and judicial procedure. This project has been completed.
Strategic Planning for the PA Ministry of Social Affairs (Social Development Canada, $85,000, 2005-06): to support participatory planning exercise at the Ministry. This project has been completed.
In addition, the project Assistance to the Palestinian Coastal Police (Foreign Affairs funding, notionally $4.5 million, 2006-2008), announced in 2005, was not operationalized.
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