WASHINGTON, October 21, 2010 -- The World Bank Board of Directors approved today an additional grant of US$3 million to support the delivery of essential social services to the Palestinian people through its Third Emergency Services Support Program (ESSP III). The program, now totaling US$18 million, is designed to assist the Palestinian Authority in sustaining the delivery of education, health and social services to the Palestinian population.
“By covering operating costs, this program has helped the Palestinian Authority sustain essential social service delivery,” said Eileen Murray, World Bank Lead Operations Officer for the West Bank and Gaza. “Assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the Palestinian population -- marginalized youth, unskilled laborers, elderly indigents, as well as the many school and university students dependent on public education -- has remained largely uninterrupted, even under the most extreme conditions of escalated conflict.”
Items financed by the ESSP over the previous fiscal year included: fuel, utilities and stationery for the education system; recurrent costs for the health sector and contracting of specialized services in the health system; and the operation of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ social care centers, rehabilitation services for the disabled, training for youth and programs for the elderly.
“Most of our work here focuses on the twin pre-conditions for the establishment of a viable Palestinian State: sustainable economic growth and robust institutions of state and civil society,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “We must not forget, however, that it is the resilience of Palestinian society that makes these long-term goals achievable. Therefore, programs designed to preserve valuable social and human capital in the short-term are critical to the state-building effort.”
The ESSP is financed through the World Bank’s Trust Fund for West Bank and Gaza. In addition, the Bank administers the Emergency Services Support Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which provides similar budget support for non-salary recurrent expenditures.