August 29, 2011
Today, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to promote further assistance to Palestine refugees. The signing took place at the JICA Research Institute between JICA President Sadako Ogata and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, who was visiting Japan from August 25 to 31, 2011.
UNRWA was created as a temporary agency by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1949, and has provided humanitarian aid including education, health care, relief and welfare assistance to some five million Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since 1986, JICA and UNRWA have been cooperating in areas of education and health by dispatching Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers or by providing technical assistance.
The signing has taken place on the occasion of UNRWA Commissioner-General Mr.Grandi's visit to Japan. The purpose of the MOU is to monitor and evaluate on-going partnership projects by establishing a monitoring committee thereby to enhance assistance to Palestine refugees.
Following the signing on the MOU, JICA and UNRWA signed a project agreement on water supply and sewage improvement in the Ein el-Hilweh Palestine refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. Among the Palestine refugees' camps in five areas, the condition of those in Lebanon is particularly vulnerable while assistance from the international community has been limited. As one of the largest refugee camps in Lebanon, Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp is said to be home to about 60,000 people. While camp's infrastructure has hardly been upgraded and inadequate for today's population of the camp, this JICA's intervention meets a vital need by helping the camp's long-awaited rehabilitation. The project will be effectuated with the conclusion of a separate agreement with JICA and the Government of Lebanon.