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Years of violent fighting in Syria left thousands of schools destroyed, damaged or used as shelters for families who lost their homes. 11-year-old Nour struggled to follow lessons in a dark classroom up until the EU and UNICEF stepped in providing solar panels to generate electricity, and kindling her dream to become an architect. “I want to rebuild our destroyed house, but with a better design,” she says cheerfully in her now lit up classroom. In their first ever meeting, EU High Representative Mogherini and newly elected UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta H. Fore, discussed further cooperation between the EU and UNICEF in providing assistance and hope to more children like Nour, trapped by conflict and poverty.
The EU and Japan have concluded negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement. Complementing the new economic deal agreed in December liberalising trade, the political deal aims to facilitate common solutions to common challenges, such as climate change, energy supply and threats to security. It will help the EU and Japan to jointly promote peace, stability and prosperity globally, as well as an open international system.
During her meeting with Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), High Representative Federica Mogherini announced €82 million in funding for UNRWA. The money was made available in a sped-up procedure and will provide access to education for 500,000 children, primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients and assistance to over 250,000 vulnerable refugees. "Preserving UNRWA is not just a matter of humanity. It is also our strategic interest. The situation in the Middle East is extremely volatile and we can't afford even greater destabilisation", High Representative Mogherini said in her speech at the Ministerial Conference on UNRWA.