WEST BANK, Palestine, 15 April 2019 – The Government of Japan has recently announced that it will fund US$ 446,428 for a project to improve the competitiveness of the garment and textile value chain in the State Palestine with the objective of promoting job creation, especially for youth and women in the northern Governorates of the West Bank. This is one of nine new projects implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with Japanese funding totalling US$ 5.8 million.
The Palestinian economy remains highly vulnerable to both internal and external risk factors. It is therefore crucial to sustain existing jobs, creating new ones and build resilience among Palestinian communities, which are increasingly vulnerable to shocks that threaten their livelihoods. It is with a view to overcome this challenge that UNIDO and Japan have partnered to support the garment and textile creative industry in the northern region of the West Bank.
“UNIDO’s work in the field of cultural and creative industries aims to foster innovation and upgrade traditional industries while utilizing the added value of cultural heritage and know-how,” said UNIDO project Manager, Marlen Bakalli. “By promoting creativity, not only innovation and economic competitiveness are fostered, but also many individuals, including young men and women, are encouraged to develop creative approaches for starting new industrial ventures with a vision towards the future transformation of their societies.”
The project will apply UNIDO’s approach to creative industries. It involves the design and implementation of a comprehensive training programme focused on creativity, which will boost skills development, innovation and access to markets in the textile value chain in order to stimulate income-generating activities. A Garment and Fashion Design Centre will be established to provide services to key stakeholders of the sector – including business development, design and prototyping services – in a sustainable manner.
Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador of Japan for Palestinian Affairs, said “The basic aid policy of Japan to Palestine is to contribute to the sustainable economic development, thereby facilitating nation-building process based on a two-state solution. I sincerely hope that the new project of UNIDO funded by Japan, which is in line with this Japan’s aid policy, will contribute to creating jobs for the young generation and enhancing the social and economic resilience of the young generation.”
The project methodology has proven to be successful in the State of Palestine, where UNIDO has supported the handicrafts value chain in Bethlehem and the furniture value chain in Nablus through a pilot project funded by the European Union and Italy. During this pilot phase, 50 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises were supported, leading to improved economic performance and employment opportunities. The concrete results achieved led the Government of Japan to partner with UNIDO for the replication of the initiative to the textile and garments sector in order to create economic opportunities for the most vulnerable.
This initiative reinforces the partnership between Japan, State of Palestine and UNIDO as a direct response to the national priorities outlined in the country’s National Policy Agenda 2017-2022.