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Islamic Development Bank and UNRWA Sign US$40 Million Re-programming Agreement to Provide Shelter Solutions for Palestine Refugees in the Gaza Strip
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in its capacity as Coordinator for the Programme of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Reconstruction of Gaza, has re-programmed and signed a US$40 million agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the revised agreement will now include the shelter repair and reconstruction of at least 1,000 housing units across the Gaza Strip for families whose houses were damaged or destroyed during the 2014 hostilities.
Welcoming the agreement, Mr. Bo Schack, UNRWA Director of Operations, Gaza, said: “This agreement is testament to the continuing trust and partnership between UNRWA and the Gulf Cooperation Council acting through IDB, who have become among UNRWA Gaza and Palestine refugees’ most committed supporters, providing us now with resources to ensure families have an adequate roof over their heads. Despite the cyclical conflict, continuing to live under blockade and the dire socio-economic conditions in Gaza Strip, this agreement provides a piece of hope and one less worry for refugee families; it is an agreement for which UNRWA Gaza is very grateful to the Gulf Cooperation Council and IDB.”
As a reprogramming of funds from a previous agreement signed in 2015 and with a Master Plan for camp improvement in place, UNRWA will prioritize Deir El-Balah residents, especially displaced refugee families that are being hosted by others in Deir El-Balah as a result of destroyed homes.
The agreement to re-programme funds from the Gulf Cooperation Council through IDB is in response to UNRWA’s continued urgent appeals to donors to generously contribute to its emergency shelter programme to provide displaced Palestine refugees in Gaza with rental subsidies or cash assistance to undertake repair works and reconstruction of their damaged homes. Without the full funding to complete the destroyed homes caseload, UNRWA is projecting to require between US$12 and US$15 million in contributions for Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance. There are currently approximately 5,900 families eligible for TSCA.
The Gulf Cooperation Council through the IDB has been a valuable supporter of the Agency’s housing reconstruction and repair efforts. This latest agreement follows earlier agreements worth around US$90 million.
The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution which works to foster economic development and social progress in its 56 member countries and Muslim communities in accordance with the principles of Islamic law. The Bank awards equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises as well as other forms of financial assistance to promote economic and social development. The Bank also establishes and operates special funds for specific purposes, including trusts. The IDB is the administrator of the funds under the Gulf Cooperation Council’s programme to rebuild Gaza.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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