30 November 2011 –The United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees said today it has formed a partnership with a renowned architect to build 20 environmentally-friendly schools in the Gaza Strip.

Source: UN News Center

The blueprint for the “environmental zero impact” schools to be built by UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in partnership with award-winning architect Mario Cucinella, renowned for green architectural design and technology, will be showcased at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

“This project is a first for UNRWA, which we hope will lead to the creation of environmentally friendly schools in the five areas where we work,” said Filippo Grandi, the UNRWA Commissioner-General. Such schools will also be built in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria in future, he said.

“We teach half a million students throughout the Middle East region. UNRWA is grateful to the Kuwait Fund, which is funding the pilot school through the Islamic Development Bank. We hope that all donors will come forward as this exciting initiative moves ahead,” Mr. Grandi added.

At a cost of $2 million – about the same cost of building a regular UNRWA school – the schools will provide educational facilities for 800 students each in an atmosphere conducive to the highest levels of academic achievement, according to the agency. The schools are self-sustaining in water and energy.

The aim is to promote high academic standards within the schools, while creating greater awareness and respect for the environment outside.

See also: UNRWA to launch first ever environmental zero impact school in Gaza