October 31, 2014
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, left, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka after signing the revised memorandum of understanding.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka on Oct. 23 held talks with Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East at JICA Headquarters in Tokyo.
JICA and UNRWA concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2011, and have been strengthening their cooperation on support for Palestinian refugees. Because they have enlarged the scope of the agencies' partnership, before the talks Tanaka and Krähenbühl signed a revised MOU that adds areas of cooperation and scope.
After Krähenbühl expressed gratitude for the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD,1) initiative, and for JICA‘s dispatching volunteers to UNRWA schools in Jordan and JICA staff to UNRWA. Tanaka replied that JICA would like to further this human contribution.
Based on the increasingly difficult situation of the Palestinian refugees, Krähenbühl said not only is humanitarian assistance important, but so are development from a long-term perspective, and in particular the development of human resources. Tanaka responded by telling Krähenbühl about JICA's cooperation on the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP, 2) as a project that will lead to increased employment and regional development.
Krähenbühl went on to talk about the situation in Gaza and the necessity of reconstruction assistance. Tanaka responded by saying, in addition to direct assistance to Gaza, JICA is emphasizing assistance to Jordan, which is important for regional stability as a stable country in a difficult situation,
1: Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development. It is led by the Japanese government. Participant countries share their experiences in East Asian development and expertise on assistance to Palestine and boost Palestinian nation-building cooperation by studying what kind of cooperative relations are effective. In so doing, they aim to promote peace in the Middle East and regional stability.
2: An agro-industrial park created with Japanese assistance on the West Bank of the Jordan River for continuous economic development in Palestine.