UNRWA and Dera’a Governorate join forces to raise environmental awareness though an environmental garden

15 June 2009

15 June 2009

Damascus

UNRWA and the Dera’a Governorate joined forces today by inaugurating the Dera’a Environmental Garden which aims to increase levels of environmental awareness amongst the Dera’a community, particularly young people.

The garden, established with the support of the local offices of Agriculture and Forestry, houses a variety of plants including local species native to the Dera’a area, and medicinal herbs.

In a speech opening the garden, Acting Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Dr. Stefania Pace-Shenklin, reiterated the manifold role of gardens as a tool for education, to support social cohesion, and as alternative therapy for the disabled or people recovering from illness. She also mentioned the important role of young people. She said: "Where young people are concerned, this garden offers a practical way that we can instill a sense of pride and responsibility in the local environment. It is our vision that as time goes on, students from the local schools will be taking an active role in the maintenance and care of this garden, and that the benefits of their participation are communicated far and wide, encouraging other Governorates and municipalities to develop their own educational environmental gardens."

The Governor of Dera’a, himself a good friend of UNRWA and a strong advocate of environmental education, reinforced the important role of the garden in bringing both Syrians and Palestinians together in support of the environment.

The Dera’a environmental garden welcomes all budding environmentalists to join with UNRWA and the Governorate in the promotion, care and protection of the garden.

For information only           Not an official record

For further information, please contact:
Hala Mukhles
Office: 6133035 ext 314
Mobile: 094088810

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

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