How we are helping
2014/15 Budget Estimate:
Australia is a long-standing supporter of a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue. While the parties search for a solution, our aid is helping to build the capacity of Palestinian individuals and institutions to take on the responsibilities of a separate state, maintaining enablers of economic growth, and keeping many Palestinians out of poverty through social protection and the promotion of business opportunities. Since 2010-2011 Australia has provided more than $200 million in development assistance to the Palestinian Territories. The main pillars of our aid are five-year funding commitments (2011-2016) to the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and a longstanding civil society program valued at $37m from 2009 to 2015.
The Palestinian Territories experience high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency. Around 26 per cent of Palestinians were out of work in 2014 (up from 23 per cent in 2012) and over a third of Palestinians, 1.45 million people, cannot meet basic food needs. Without aid, an additional 185,000 people, half of them children, would be food insecure. Humanitarian and economic conditions are particularly dire in the Gaza strip, where unemployment has reached 44.5 per cent and well over half of Gaza’s youth are out of work. Australian aid has two objectives:
- Supporting sustainable economic growth including helping rural communities and vulnerable groups
Our funding and policy engagement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) helps it meet the basic health, education and social protection needs of almost five million Palestinian refugees—thereby maintaining the enablers of economic growth. Through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) we are providing safe drinking water and toilet facilities to over 200 schools in poor areas.
Through Australian and local non-government organisations we are helping to introduce more efficient practices into the much-neglected agricultural sector and link small scale farmers to domestic and international markets. Through a focus on the role of women, our civil society and education activities are helping to raise the average income and the socio-economic status of women and girls.
- Supporting state building and the peace process
Through governance support to the Palestinian Authority, delivered through the World Bank, Australia is helping to influence policy and regulatory reform—particularly in financial management—that helps create jobs, encourage investment and maintain basic services. Scholarships to Australian universities are helping future leaders from the Palestinian Authority and emerging legal academics from Palestinian universities acquire key skills for state-building.
- Since 2011 Australia has helped improve water and sanitation facilities in 75 schools, benefiting over 50,000 students. Over 35,000 people have also increased their knowledge of hygiene practices.
- In 2013-14 Australia enabled an additional 21,784 Palestinian children to attend school in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, with girls making up half of all enrolments.
- Since 2009 Australia has promoted economic growth by working with Australian and local NGOs to raise incomes for over 53,000 people in poor farming communities.
- Since 2011 Australia has been contributing to the Palestinian Authority’s economic reforms including through measures such as broadening its tax base and transparency of public procurement and delivering efficient services.