Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), since January 1, 2016, there have been four payments from the Government of Canada to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA. The first is providing basic education, health and social services to Palestinian refugees 2016. The funding instrument was signed on November 1, 2016 in the amount of $20 million Canadian. The second is Syria crisis – emergency assistance to Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon 2016. The funding instrument was signed on November 10, 2016 in the amount of $5 million Canadian. The third is providing basic education, health and social services to Palestinian refugees 2017. The funding instrument was signed on August 23, 2017 in the amount of $20 million Canadian. The fourth is Syria crisis – emergency assistance for Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon 2017. The funding instrument was signed on September 18, 2017 in the amount of $5 million Canadian.
With regard to part (b), the Government of Canada does not tolerate any misuse or diversion of assistance to support terrorism. Accountability and safeguards are central to the management of Canada's development and humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and Gaza.
Canada exercises enhanced due diligence for all international assistance funding for Palestinians, including funding for UNRWA. This includes strong anti-terrorism provisions in funding agreements, ongoing oversight, regular site visits, and a systematic screening process. All programming and funding mechanisms are thoroughly examined to be consistent with Canadian values and to meet the highest standards of transparency and accountability.
Furthermore, Global Affairs Canada officials based across the region play a key role in ensuring ongoing oversight on programming. On a near-daily basis, Canadian representatives are in contact with UNRWA in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza to ensure that UNRWA is addressing issues of concern for Canadians. Regular visits are conducted to UNRWA schools, health centres, and other facilities to ensure that they are used only for their intended purposes.
In addition to the enhanced due diligence processes, Canada and UNRWA have agreed to a framework for co-operation that outlines shared commitments and Canada's expectations regarding the implementation of UNRWA's reform initiatives, regular monitoring and reporting, and compliance with Canadian anti-terrorism requirements.
Canada also supports UNRWA in its ongoing efforts to improve neutrality within the agency and its operations. Canadian funding will allow UNRWA to engage a neutrality coordinator to monitor activities related to neutrality, lead the development of neutrality initiatives, respond to allegations of neutrality violations, and uphold UNRWA’s neutrality. This assistance builds on Canadian funding in 2016 to 2017 that provided social media neutrality training to more than 3,000 UNRWA staff with managerial and supervisory responsibilities.
As an engaged member of UNRWA’s advisory commission, Canada works with UNRWA and other donors to advance ongoing reforms related to governance, effectiveness, monitoring, and financial administration. Canada’s active participation on UNRWA’s advisory commission provides an opportunity for oversight, influence, and engagement on key issues.
UNRWA receives widespread support from the international community and Canada’s like-minded friends and allies, including significant funding from the United States and all other G7 countries. Canada works together with UNRWA and other donors to ensure that assistance goes towards its intended purpose.