Speech by UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator Mr Frode Mauring

01 Nov 2012

Prime Minister Fayyad,
Ministers,

Chairman of Padico,
Executive Director of Jedico,

Cyril
Representative of the Women Committee

I take great pleasure to be here today not only  because I represent UNDP on suchan occasion, but also as being a consumer and many times wondering why is it not possible to get more Palestinian products and to what extent we can contribute to that because building a state is not only about building government institutions and capacities. It is also about creating the environment for a productive economy.

UNDP is pleased to be a trusted partner in this effort to market national productsand open doors of opportunity to women entrepreneurs across the occupied Palestinian territory.

The physical restrictions on the movement of goods within the occupied Palestinian territory and across its borders are directly affecting the Palestinian economy. This means that reaching the regional markets in Gaza and neighbouring countries like Jordan is very difficult.

But if we want to overcome these difficult barriers we have to focus on the potentials. One potential is to strengthen local value chains allowing them to grow and possibly even gain the market share from imported products.

UNDP also recognizes that gender equality and women empowerment are critical in achieving development results.

With only 11 percent of women in the labour force being self employed, half of what we see among men, women entrepreneurs in the oPt, as in many other countries, face gender based barriers when starting and growing their businesses. These may include limited access to markets, technology, information and commercial credit.

These factors will eventually maintain gender inequalities in the labour market, and such inequality not only is a human rights issue, it is also bad for business, and bad for the Palestinian economy.

When given the opportunity, women in cooperatives have demonstrated their abilities as innovators, entrepreneurs and contributors to economic growth. This not only will benefit their own well being but that of the Palestinian economy too.

UNDP has an extensive portfolio of programmes that aim at supporting Palestinian women to actively participate in developing a future Palestinian State and a sustainable economy.

The Deprived families Economic Empowerment Programme (DEEP) and the export development project with PalTrade are prime examples of our support.

With DEEP we offer microfinance and seed capital schemes for microenterprises owned by youth, women and people with disabilities. DEEP’s first phase graduated approximately 9500 families from poverty into economic self-reliance.

Hundreds of women were trained in marketing and business management skills.The second phase of the programme will offer microfinance and seed capital schemes for 20,000 families.

But we cannot do this alone. There cannot be economic development without the private sector, without cooperatives, and other institutions being a large part in how that can be achieved.

I compliment the efforts of the participants here today from the private sector in their commitment to an inclusive economy and corporate social responsibility, because this is also good business.

That is why UNDP is here today to renew its partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, JEDICO and FAO in order to see a more vibrant economy, providing decent jobs for more people, particularly women and youth so that they can have an income to empower themselves to solve many of their own challenges and contribute through tax revenues to the PA finances.

Thank you all for your valuable contribution in making this initiative a success. Keep up the good work.

Shukran!