Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence

Further supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for International Development


1.   Whether there is potential within the agreement [EU Association] to provide greater access for Palestinian goods?

  The EU/Israel Association Agreement applies only to goods produced within Israel. Goods produced within the Palestinian Territories already receive tariff preferences for exports to the EU under the EC/PLO Agreement.   However Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians and their goods limit physically the export of these goods. Lifting restrictions on freedom of movement would be the single most valuable action to improve the humanitarian and economic situation for the Palestinian people. The European Union has taken the opportunities provided by the EU/Israel Association Agreement, such as the EU/Israel Association Council on 17/18 November, to keep the pressure on Israel to improve freedom of movement for Palestinians as well as fulfilling their other roadmap commitments. We believe that close engagement with both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides is the best way to promote progress towards a peaceful settlement. However the EU's relationship with those who implement policies that have negative impacts on dialogue and negotiations will inevitably be affected.

2.   What is the relationship between funding to the OPT from DFID's Middle East and North Africa Department in London and the Civil Society Department in East Kilbride? Are you confident that the Civil Society Challenge Fund can respond with adequate flexibility to the funding needs of projects delivering emergency services in a situation of military occupation?

  The vast majority of DFID's funding for Palestinians is managed by the Middle East and North Africa Department (MENAD), which has spent £30-£40 million per year for the last three years. The Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) is a separate funding source for UK NGOs to take the initiative in developing projects focusing on advocacy and rights for poor people. It is managed by DFID's Information and Civil Society Department (ICSD) as a worldwide scheme, and currently funds two small projects in the Palestinian Territory. Some UK NGOs that receive funding from ICSD under DFID Programme Partnership Agreements for their work around the world also have programmes with Palestinians. MENAD sees and comments on new proposals from CSCF in the Palestinian Territory. MENAD and CSCF have experienced similar implementation challenges during the past few years, in adapting projects that were designed pre-Intifada to a conflict environment. DFID is sympathetic to the particular challenges of working in the Palestinian Territory, and stands ready to consider—within budgetary constraints—requests from partners to adapt project activities and timescales. MENAD and ICSD consult on issues of operational policy which affect all DFID funded NGOs working in the Palestinian Territory, for example when the UK Government's travel advice restricts the movement of UK citizens. We are looking to strengthen our relationship with NGOs through the recently established DFID-NGO Platform Working Group. This will involve DFID staff from ICSD and MENAD, and will provide a forum for discussing issues of joint concern and interest.

26 November 2003

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