Press Release 142 /2013
20 June 2013
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will travel to Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan on 24-27 June. The purpose of the visit is to survey the Finnish development cooperation efforts in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Finnish humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and to meet representatives of the governments of Israel, the Palestinian National Authority and Jordan. During her trip, Minister Hautala will get acquainted with Finnish water and education sector projects in the West Bank, and visit a refugee camp in Jordan.
The occupied Palestinian territories have been Finland’s partner in development cooperation since 1994. The main sectors of bilateral cooperation are water, education and land administration. In addition, Finland provides humanitarian assistance through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and supports development aid provided by Finnish and Palestinian NGOs in the region. Finland’s overall support for the occupied Palestinian territories has amounted to approximately 14 million euros a year.
The civil war of Syria has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis within the country and brought an enormous amount of refugees to neighbouring countries. During the conflict, between 2011 and 2013, the humanitarian assistance Finland has provided to Syria and the neighbouring areas has amounted to EUR 8.1 million, EUR 4.5 million of which was donated this year. A decision was just taken on an additional contribution of EUR 3 million, bringing the overall assistance provided by Finland to EUR 11.1 million. The Finnish assistance has been targeted for the UN agencies, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement, and FinnChurchAid.
Additional information: Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to Minister Heidi Hautala, tel. +358 9 1605 6435, +358 40 522 9869; and Helena Tuuri, Head of the Unit for the Middle East and North Africa, tel. +358 50 527 5409, firstname.lastname@example.org