United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) hosted Eng. Musa Hadid, President of Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) and Mayor of Ramallah, as part of UCLG-MEWA Local Government Talks entitled “The Role of Local Governments in the Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic and Normalization” on October 7, 2020.

Mayor Musa Hadid started by talking about the sudden spread of the coronavirus and its negative impact on the whole world, especially given that the world was not prepared for such a pandemic since the last epidemic that struck mankind nearly a hundred years ago. Therefore, he said that there was no sufficient experience or knowledge to deal properly with such a situation. This is the main reason behind the great impact of the virus. Afterwards, he noted that when it comes to Palestine, the situation is even worse due to the Israeli occupation and the obstacles and challenges imposed by the occupation on the ways to confront and deal with this pandemic.

The mayor talked about the challenges that the Palestinian government faces in implementing the necessary safety measures to limit the spread of the virus, as control over the Palestinian areas in this regard was somewhat limited. Hence,  the measures taken had little effect in some areas. He continued by talking about the precautionary measures that were taken by the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA). The main role of the association was to communicate with the local authorities in Palestine. Furthermore, the plans of the local bodies were also amended in line with the current situation. APLA contributed to the exchange of knowledge among local authorities. It also worked to find means of communication with the local authorities in the areas controlled by the occupying authority, which increased their ability to deal with the procedures imposed by the Palestinian government.

Mayor Hadid highlighted the important role of municipalities during the pandemic as well as their awareness on handling the responsibility to continue providing services to all. He moved on to talk about the impact of the pandemic on Palestine, as all municipalities have amended their annual plans for 2020. Moreover, he said that the cultural projects had been canceled and new emergency plans had been prepared. He added that the facilities of  local authorities in Palestine and Ramallah had been allocated to and placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Health.

At the end of the talk, the mayor sent a message to the Palestinians and asked them to cooperate. He also emphasized that everyone should unite to face all challenges and obstacles, especially considering that Palestinian people have other challenges as well due to the Israeli occupation. He also expressed his gratitude and extended his thanks to UCLG World Organization and UCLG- MEWA for their efforts and continuous communication with local  governments and cities despite all these difficult circumstances.

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