Friday, 16 May 2003: Japan is adding US$1.2 million to the $10 million it has already provided to UNDP to help reforms in the Palestinian Authority in support of the Road Map for peace.
During her recent visit to the region, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawguchi said the assistance will facilitate efforts by newly-appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to carry out the reform agenda.
Welcoming the support, Timothy Rothermel, Special Representative of UNDP in Jerusalem, said the Japanese Government has shown an unwavering commitment to the development of the Palestinian people whether in emergencies or peace, in a humanitarian crisis or in reforms. "UNDP very much values this close partnership with Japan," he said.
"With Japan's support and our access to a global network of knowledge and expertise, UNDP is well equipped to play an important role in the establishment of a transparent, accountable, and democratic Palestinian Authority," he added.
Drafted by the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, the Road Map is a plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state in three years.
The Road Map release followed the endorsement of the appointment of the new Prime Minister and his Cabinet by the Palestinian Legislative Council, and the adoption of a reform plan outlining measures to introduce significant improvements in the Palestinian public sector.
The plan calls for improvement in financial accountability and parliamentary, municipal and presidential election processes, promotion of separation of powers among governing bodies, and restructuring of ministries and other governmental institutions.
Pointing out that public funds belong to the people, Mr. Abbas said in a recent speech before the Palestinian Legislative Council: "Preserving public funds is a national and moral duty that will be exercised through institutions, laws, transparency and continuous supervision."
The UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People has played a central role in supporting reforms. Japan has contributed most of the funding, with UNDP allocating about $2 million from its own resources. UNDP is participating in support groups in reforming ministries and the civil service, elections, the judiciary, financial institutions and local government.
Support for strengthening the judiciary includes construction of new courthouses in Khan Younis and Nablus, and an administrative building for the Palestinian Ministry of Justice. UNDP also helped set up the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, with offices in the West Bank and Gaza, and will help improve election processes in partnership with the UN Electoral Assistance Division.
Other efforts include support for strengthening the internal audit capacity of the Palestinian Authority, reform of several ministries, and a diagnostic study to aid decentralization of local and rural governments.
UNDP also works closely with the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), formed by several Palestinian organizations to combat corruption, and is sponsoring a high level Palestinian delegation to the 11th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea, this month to report on Palestinian reforms.
For further information please contact Ehab Shanti or Dania Darwish, UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, or Nadine Shamounki, UNDP Communications Office.