Young Palestinians will be given the tools they need to hold their leaders to account and play an active role in creating a prosperous and stable future for themselves and the whole of the Middle East, the UK Minister for International Development Alan Duncan announced today.
Innovative uses of social media and technology will be just one of the ways a new DFID programme will help young people to engage with the Palestinian Authority (PA), scrutinise public spending and become actively involved in shaping their own future. The announcement follows an event with young people and civil society organisations at which the Minister listened to their concerns and ideas for the future.
Alan Duncan said:
Palestinians, Israelis and all people of the region deserve to experience 2013 as a year of peace and we are determined to do all we can to make that happen.
While courageous political leadership is needed to make progress on the peace process, if we are serious about turning that hope into a reality we must acknowledge that the answers do not rest solely with political leaders. That is why today we are setting out how we will harness the power and possibility that lies within young Palestinians.
By giving young Palestinians the means to engage with their political leaders and hold them to account, we can help them make the most of their power to create a prosperous, stable future for themselves and their neighbours.
The Supporting Stability and Promoting Democracy Programme, which will be funded by DFID and delivered by the British Council, will:
- allow young people to engage with the PA to help develop policy positions on youth issues;
- enable Palestinian civil society groups to monitor how the PA spends public money by developing
knowledge of budget processes and enabling involvement with events such as budget hearings; and
- help independent Palestinian media represent a broader range of people by exploring how technologies such as social media can help normally excluded Palestinians get their voices heard by decision makers.
Alongside this new programme, the Minister also announced £3 million over two years to deliver legal aid to defend the housing, land and property rights of Palestinians in Area C, East Jerusalem and Gaza. This will provide thousands of households with legal advice on various property and housing issues and help create stability for the Palestinian population in these areas.
Both announcements are just part of the UK’s practical and immediate support for the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) across three main areas: maintaining the rights and access to justice of Palestinians; creating wealth and jobs; and promoting the legitimacy and capability of a future Palestinian state.