Overview of Australia’s aid program to the Palestinian Territories

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$43.0 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$20.5 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$43.8 million

The Australian Government will provide an estimated $43.8 million in total ODA to the Palestinian Territories (PTs) in 2017-18.

Australian aid to the PTs is a tangible demonstration of our long-standing support for the Middle East peace process. Australia’s  assistance is helping to strengthen the economic and social foundations of a future Palestinian state which can provide jobs and services for its people. Australia’s  objectives are framed by our relative size as a donor. Australia’s contribution equates to less than a half of one percent of the PTs Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so Australia  seeks  to align its  support  with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) objectives and other donor’s efforts for  maximum impact.

The PTs (consisting of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) is one of the poorest regions in the Middle East. The 2016 United Nations Human Development Index, measuring life expectancy, standard of living and education, rated the PTs 113th out of 188 . The population of the PTs is 4.5 million (World Bank, 2016), almost 44 per cent of whom are refugees. A further three million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and rely on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for essential services such as health and education. . Some 26 per cent of the Territories’ people are food insecure and 25 per cent live in poverty. These figures have all deteriorated over the past 20 years leading the United Nations to refer to the PTs as having undergone a process of 'de-development'.

The PTs face formidable constraints to economic development including: the physical separation of territory, a lack of control over territorial borders and key natural resources such as land and water, restrictions on movement of goods and people, and the ever present threat of violent conflict. The extreme population density, heavy economic restrictions and repeated cycles of conflict and insecurity have rendered half of Gaza’s population dependent on food assistance to meet basic needs. The effects of the 2014 conflict continue to be felt in Gaza while the worsening water and electricity situation in 2017 further impacted economic growth and increased the potential for instability.

Australia has a long history of supporting Palestinians. Australian aid in the PTs supports improved public financial management of the PA, a competitive agricultural economy and access to quality basic services for Palestinian refugees. The PTs aid program is organised around the following two objectives as outlined in the Aid Investment Plan (AIP) 2015-19. Australia implements these objectives through a number of targeted investments. These objectives contribute to stability and inclusive economic growth in the PTs, and complement other donor priorities.

Objective 1: Improved public financial management and a more competitive agricultural economy in the PTs

Well-functioning institutions and a robust economy are prerequisites for viable state. Australia  supports agriculture as a driver of economic growth and a tool for strengthening community fabric through the third phase of the Australian Middle East NGO Cooperation Agreement (AMENCA 3). Australia  supports the PA’s public financial management capacity through the World Bank’s Palestine Reform and Development Plan Multi-Donor Trust Fund (PRDP-MDTF). The provision of Australia Award scholarships continues to enable Palestinians to influence their futures and their institutions. Australian  scholarships focus on building public sector management skills within the PA and agricultural development.

Improved public financial management and a more competitive agricultural economy in the PTs

Objective 2: Palestinian refugees in the PTs and across the region are able to access quality basic services

The provision of basic services and the capacity to respond to humanitarian situations are what people expect from their governing authorities. Australia  supports UNRWA to provide protection and basic services (education and health)  to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank,  Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and to improve living conditions in refugee camps. Australia  provides targeted and responsive humanitarian assistance as conflict arises through trusted partners such as UNRWA, UNICEF and Australian NGOs. Australia  supports Australian and Palestinian NGOs and civil society organisations through AMENCA 3, the Direct Aid Program (DAP) and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) to provide local solutions to local problems.

Palestinian refugees in the PTs and across the region are able to access quality basic services

Our results

  • In 2016-17, Australian funding to UNRWA contributed to universal primary education for more than half a million Palestinian refugee children (half of whom were girls), a 99 per cent vaccination rate for infants, over  8.5 million patient visits at UNRWA health care facilities, social safety net assistance (cash and food) to over 254,000 people and micro loans to over 39,000 people.
  • In 2016-17, humanitarian assistance was provided through UNRWA to over 1.4 million Palestinian refugees, primarily in the West Bank, Gaza and Syria.
  • In 2016-17, more than 113,000 students in 308 schools were taught about the importance of good hygiene from a new manual developed by UNICEF and the PA Ministry of Education.  
  • In 2016-17, the AMENCA 3 program brokered deals for diary and grape producers, opening up new markets.
  • In 2016-17, Australia provided ten Australia Awards to the PTs  which helped build public sector management skills within the PA and agricultural development.  
  • In 2016-17, Australian funding to the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the  Access Coordination Unit (ACU) and the Materials Monitoring Unit (MMU) facilitated access for  humanitarian agencies across the PTs, and  goods and services to help the Gaza reconstruction efforts.
  •  In 2016-17, Australian support to small civil society projects in the PTs under the Australia-NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) helped vulnerable women accessing business and skills training and empowering them, and mothers and children developing better preventative practices for hygiene related diseases.
  • Australian aid contributed to building more  effective public institutions in the PTs (as assessed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund).

 

Last updated: 25 October 2017

Last Updated: 25 October 2017