In the name of the Chair and the Co-Chairs of the International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State.
In accordance with the commitment they made at the International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State, the Chair and co-Chairs met tonight in Paris to launch the in-depth follow-up of contributions announced at the Conference, of the Palestinian Programme (PRDP – Palestinian Reform and Development Plan) and of all relevant elements concerning its implementation. This was prepared by a meeting in Ramallah of the enlarged group of the Friends of the Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC).
The total amount of aid pledged in Paris has now reached US$7.7 billion. The Paris Conference demonstrated the high degree of confidence on the part of the international community in the plan prepared and to be implemented by the Palestinian Authority.
A number of donors began disbursing their pledges in the very first days of January. A significant number of donors intend to transfer their aid to the single treasury account of the Palestinian Authority. This is a mark of these donors’ confidence in the Palestinian Authority’s capacity to comply with its commitments. The Chair and co-Chairs welcome the imminent implementation of the European PEGASE mechanism and the creation of the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund. These mechanisms are complementary. The budgetary support pledged for 2008 has still to be confirmed. The Chair and co-Chairs invite donors to put it in place as soon as possible.
While recognizing there has been some improvement in the Palestinian economy following the Paris Conference, the co-Chairs noted that further efforts by all parties are required. The situation in Gaza is a source of great economic and humanitarian concern. Efforts by all parties are required for the economic situation to improve: by donors to fulfil rapidly their commitments, by the Palestinian Authority to ensure prompt and full implementation of the PRDP and by Israel to encourage improved movement of goods and persons, which, as highlighted by the IMF and World Bank, is a prerequisite for a full economic recovery. We encourage participants in the Paris Conference to maintain the present economic momentum by swiftly providing their contributions and ensuring that recurrent expenditures receive adequate funding.
Welcoming security-related efforts on the part of the Palestinian Authority, the Chair and co-Chairs invite donors who have not yet decided upon the allocation of their project aid to allocate part of that aid to security projects: financing of equipment, infrastructures and training of personnel.
The Chair and co-Chairs welcome the proposed conference for the mobilization of private investors to be held in Bethlehem in the spring. Confident in the capacity of Palestinian and Israeli private sectors to build up a momentum for the benefit of all, the Chair and co-Chairs call on the parties to create the conditions conducive to the development of private investors’ projects.
The Chair and co-Chairs have decided to meet again at the end of March in Brussels. They have noted the intention of the AHLC Chair to convene a meeting of the committee on 2 May in London./.