On behalf of the State of Palestine and the Palestinian people, those who live under Israeli occupation and in other places, I am honored to participate in this IBSA event and exhibition on the margins of the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation. I take this opportunity to join other delegations in highlighting the admirable initiatives of IBSA to fight poverty and hunger and commend IBSA on the unveiling of the 2014 IBSA Fund Report. As one of the beneficiaries of the IBSA Fund, the State of Palestine expresses its deep appreciation for the development assistance extended to the Palestinian people by the Fund as a concrete demonstration of solidarity within the context of South-South cooperation. I would also like to share the beneficial impact of recently completed IBSA projects and ongoing new initiatives in Palestine being undertaken in cooperation with relevant Government Ministries and institutions.
One ongoing project is the construction of a centre for persons with severe intellectual disabilities in the city of Nablus. This Centre, which is scheduled for completion this month, will include consultation, physical therapy, as well as other services for persons in need. Once open, the Government will also provide a protection and rehabilitation program for adults with various kinds of disabilities. Additionally, as the State of Palestine recently became a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities we believe this project will further assure protection of those rights.
A sports complex in Ramallah, funded by IBSA, is providing many opportunities in recreational and team sports. The complex offers indoor soccer, fencing, snooker, gymnastics, table tennis, volleyball and badminton facilities, a fitness room, a clinic, and spectator stands. To date, over 23 organizations and 6,600 people have used the facility for various athletic events. The project fosters leadership development as the Complex hosts youth sports leagues and provides an important venue for community gathering.
The IBSA initiative to rebuild the Cultural and Hospital Centre in the Gaza Strip that was damaged during conflict was a resounding success. With IBSA’s partnership, the Palestinian Government was able to refurbish the nine-story building and resume operational capacity to the hospital. After completion in April 2013, the new hospital is being operated by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). It includes patient recovery rooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria, and rooms for psychosocial support activities, improving the people’s access to healthcare services.
We are excited to share that a new IBSA project was approved last month aiming to capitalize on the success of IBSA’s first initiative to rehabilitate the Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s hospital in the Gaza Strip. The recently approved project will expand the hospital’s restoration and will establish, equip, and furnish an operating room in the hospital. This will enable surgical procedures, including open-heart surgeries, emergency-response, and life-saving medical interventions for chronic diseases. The project will also provide for 50-60 additional hospital beds, thereby extending the reach and scope of heath care services to the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, where there is vast need for such medical services. We are very proud to be a partner and beneficiary of such an initiative and we look forward to similar future initiatives.
In conclusion, I wish to convey the State of Palestine’s sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Governments and peoples of India, Brazil and South Africa for their unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people. We commend their principled political and humanitarian stance and financial and moral support, including the generous support extended for development via the IBSA Fund, for the just cause of Palestine and its people.
I thank you.