Mayor of Bethlehem Adv. Anton Salman and UN-Habitat representative Dr. Ahmad Al-Atrash signed the letter of intent for "Supporting the preparation and response to solid waste management in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and providing cleaning services in public areas in Bethlehem" project that is funded by Alwaleed Philanthropies Foundation.
This took place in the Peace Center, Manger Square during The launching ceremony of the project activities hosted by the Bethlehem municipality as part of the celebrations for the cities International Day 2020 under the title: appreciating our communities and cities, under the patronage of the Governor of Bethlehem, Major General Kamel Hamid, and in the presence of the Mayor of Beit Jala, Nicolas Khamis, the Mayor of Beit Sahour, Jihad Khair, the Mayor of Al Doha Municipality, Raafat Al-Jawabreh, the Vice President of the Infrastructure and Camp Development Program in the West Bank, Ms. Dima Abu Saud Al-Husseini, Executive Director of the Joint Services Council for Solid Waste Management in Bethlehem, Mr. Eyad AbuRdeineh, and a number of Bethlehem Municipality Council members and representatives of partner institutions.
The letter of intent was signed by Bethlehem municipality and the UN-Habitat in Palestine. Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Al Doha municipalities also signed the same letter with the UN-Habitat. The letter of intent aims to provide confirmation of the partnership between the Habitat Program and the municipalities regarding the activity of installing handwashing units in public places to enhance the practice of personal hygiene and safety in the main cities in Bethlehem governorate, with a focus on preparation, awareness and communication in the field of public health.
Adv. Anton Salman welcomed the attendees and spoke about the activities Bethlehem municipality implements to minimize the spreading of covid-19.
Salman pointed out the challenges and obstacles that the Local authorities, civil society institutions and the local community as a whole are facing due to the pandemic, emphasizing on the importance of joint work and compliance to the health and safety measures to limit the spread of the pandemic. Adding that campaigns to raise awareness on the domestic and school levels are crucial to change the citizens’ common culture about personal hygiene especially in public areas.
Major General Kamel Hamid expressed the importance of implementing this activity in celebration of international cities day, as the urbanized areas in the world in general and in Palestine in particular are the most affected areas by the pandemic. Hamid stressed on the importance of joint work between the authorities and the local community in Bethlehem to overcome this situation, he also thanked AlWaleed Philanthropies Foundation for supporting this project through the regional program administrated by the UN-Habitat in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and Tunisia. Dr. Ahmad Al-Atrash assured on UN-Habitat’s’ commitment to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in these countries, adding more information about a new project funded by the Swedish authority that aims to support urbanized agriculture as a way to adapt with the pandemic, and this new project will be aimed at marginalized families and seniors living in the urban areas in Bethlehem.
Ms. Dima Abu Saud Al-Husseini expressed UNRWAs’ exceptional interest in the three refugee camps in Bethlehem as part of this project to ensure the safety of the refugees and emphasize the importance of raising their awareness to overcome the pandemic.
Ms. Haneen Zaqout from UN-Habitat presented the communication and awareness plan for the project. And finally the Executive Director of the joint services council for solid waste management Mr. Eyad AbuRdiene presented the council activities to manage solid waste within the project.