For action  

  

  

 

 

 Draft country programme document **

  

 

 Palestinian children and women in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

 

 

 

 Summary

  The draft area programme document for Palestinian children and women in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is presented to the Executive Board for discussion and comments. The Executive Board is requested to approve the aggregate indicative budget of $12,000,000 from regular resources, subject to the availability of funds, and $26,085,000 in other resources, subject to the availability of specific-purpose contributions, for the period 2011 to 2013.  

 

_____________

*  E/ICEF/2010/8.

 **   In accordance with Executive Board decision 2006/19, the present document will be revised and posted on the UNICEF website, along with the results matrix, no later than six weeks after discussion of the CPD at the annual session of the Executive Board. The revised CPD will then be presented to the Executive Board for approval at the 2010 second regular session.

Item 5 (a) of the provisional agenda*


  

Basic data (2008 unless otherwise stated) 

Occupied Palestinian Territory 

Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Jordan

Palestinians living in Lebanon

Palestinians living in the Syrian Arab Republic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child population (millions, under 18 years)

2.2

0.7 viii

0.2viii

0.2 viii

U5MR (per 1,000 live births)

27

25viii,y 

31vi

30vi

Underweight (%, moderate and severe)

3iv

4 ii,vii

5vi

10vi

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births)

.. 

19vii

51vi

46i,viii

Primary school enrolment/attendance (% net, male/female)

73/74 v

99/99v,s,vii

95/95 s,vi

97/96s,vii

Survival rate to last primary grade (%)

100iii

96 iii,vii

98+,s,vi

95iv

Use of improved drinking water sources (%)

89iv 

98iv, vii

91vi

73vi

Use of improved sanitation facilities (%)

80iv 

85iv,vii

99vi

97vi

Adult HIV prevalence rate (%) 

..

..

0.1 v,vii

..

Child labour (%, children 5-14 years old)

..

.. 

1.5vi

1.5 iv,viii

GNI per capita (US$)

a

3 310 vii

6 350vii

1 090 vii

One-year-olds immunized with DPT3 (%)

96

99 iv,viii

99viii

99s

One-year-olds immunized with measles vaccine (%)

96 

99iv,viii

99 viii

99s

†   More comprehensive country data on children and women can be found at www.childinfo.org/.

 a   Lower middle income ($976 to $3,855).

 i  1994.

 ii  2002.

 iii  2005.

 iv  2006.

 v  2007.

 vi  MICS 2006.

 vii   Host country data.

 viii  UNRWA data.

  s  Survey data

 +   Survival rate to Grade 5.

 t   Draft Situation Analysis of Palestinian Refugee Children in the Syrian Arab Republic 2009.

  y  For children under 3.

 

 

Summary of the situation of children and women

1.   The Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic is estimated at 6.7 million, with 3.9 million living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2.4 million in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 1.5 million in Gaza). The number of Palestinian refugees is 1.9 million in Jordan (33 per cent of the country’s population), 0.4 million in Lebanon and 0.5 million in the Syrian Arab Republic. Forty five per cent of Palestinians are below 18 years old. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, daily life is framed within the context of the occupation. In Gaza, children’s lives are affected by the blockade (since June 2007), the conflict of December 2008-January 2009, stringent access and movement restrictions, and the construction of the separation barrier in the West Bank.

2.   Humanitarian space has shrunk in recent years, with restrictions on the movement of personnel and materials. Lebanon has experienced renewed tension in the south and clashes in Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in the north. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face gaps in realization of their civil rights, though recent deliberations on legislation may improve this status. While Palestinians in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic have enjoyed stability in their daily lives, global economic pressures, soaring commodity prices and growing unemployment have caused declines in living standards across the region, including for Palestinian refugee children and women.

3.   The economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory has suffered a downturn since 2000; by 2007 per capita gross domestic product was 40 per cent below its 1999 peak. In 1999 average annual per capita income was $1,622, but by 2008 each Palestinian was living on just over $1,000/year, or $2.70/day. An unemployment rate of up to 50 per cent among 15- to 24-year-olds is a major challenge to economic growth. Poverty rates are also high among Palestinian refugees. In refugee camps in Jordan, where 17 per cent of Palestinian refugees reside, about 46 per cent of households are in the lowest income deciles, compared to 26 per cent of households in Jordan as a whole. An estimated half of all Palestinian refugee households in Lebanon live below the poverty line. Poverty is also extensive among Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic, with approximately 50 per cent living below the international poverty line.

4.   Under-five and infant mortality rates improved between 1990 and 2008, but the improvement has stagnated since the late 1990s. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) declined from 38 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 29 in 2000 and 27 in 2008. Between 2005 and 2008 similar declining trends were observed among Palestinian refugees, with the U5MR stable at 25 deaths per 1,000 live births in Jordan, 31 in Lebanon and 30 in the Syrian Arab Republic. More than 90 per cent of the under-five deaths occur in infancy, with neonatal deaths making up at least 70 per cent of infant deaths. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, primary causes of neonatal deaths are premature birth, low birthweight, asphyxia, bacterial infections and congenital abnormalities.

5.   In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the proportion of underweight children under 5 years of age was 3 per cent in 2006. The rate was 7 per cent in Jordan (2002), 5 per cent in Lebanon (2006) and 10 per cent in the Syrian Arab Republic (2006). Trend data are not available for Palestinian refugees in Jordan. In Gaza the proportion of underweight among children fell by half in 10 years, from 5 per cent in 1996 to 2 per cent in 2006. Stunting rose from 8 per cent in 1996 to 10 per cent in 2006, with pockets of almost 30 per cent prevalence. In Lebanon, the multiple indicator cluster surveys (MICS) from 2000 and 2006 indicate that the underweight rate among under-five Palestinian children increased from 3.7 per cent to 4.6 per cent, while stunting rose from 11 per cent to nearly 20 per cent. A high stunting rate also prevailed among the under-fives of the Palestinian refugee population in the Syrian Arab Republic (27 per cent), according to the 2006 MICS.

6.   Reliable data on maternal mortality are lacking. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the 2008 estimates by the National Maternal Mortality Review Committee indicate between 80 and 90 deaths per 100,000 live births, but these data contradict lower estimates in annual reports from the Ministry of Health. The maternal mortality among registered Palestinian refugee women was estimated at 28 deaths per 100,000 live births in Jordan in 2008, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The 2006 MICS among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic showed ratios of 51 and 46 per 100,000 live births, respectively. Yet in the Syrian Arab Republic, more than 90 per cent of births among Palestinian women are attended by trained health personnel, and most pregnant women receive antenatal care at least once during their pregnancy.

7.   Gaza’s water supply has become intermittent since 2005, falling to crisis levels, largely due to the deteriorating political and security situation, which curtails access to power, fuel and spare parts. Although there was a 14 per cent increase in the number of Palestinians connected to a water network between 1995 and 2006, only 5 to 10 per cent of Gaza’s only aquifer is fit for human consumption. A September 2009 assessment by the United Nations Environment Programme noted that the majority of Gaza’s population is at risk of consuming water with high nitrate levels, which can lead to methemoglobin anaemia (blue baby syndrome) among infants. The West Bank also faces a water crisis; almost 200,000 of its residents are unserved by water networks, and up to 45 per cent of the water supply across the Occupied Palestinian Territory is wasted due to leakage in the system. The situation is different in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, however. All official Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan are served by water networks, except Jerash Camp, which is old and requires rehabilitation. In Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, more than 90 per cent of households in the Palestinian refugee camps have access to public water pipelines.

8.   In 2006, two thirds of households in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were not connected to a sewage network, and 70 to 80 per cent of domestic wastewater was discharged into the environment partially or totally untreated. In Gaza, up to 80 million litres of raw or partially treated wastewater are discharged into the sea each day because of fuel shortages and crumbling infrastructure, which cannot be rehabilitated due to the blockade. All Palestinian refugee households in Jordan are also connected to a sewage network, except in Jerash camp. Although 96 per cent of Palestinian refugee households in the Syrian Arab Republic are connected to sewage networks, many of the water and sewage systems need upgrading. In Lebanon, more than 80 per cent of all Palestinian refugee households are reported as connected to sewage networks, though most need upgrading.

9.   Boys and girls are enrolled in primary education at equal rates, estimated at 73 per cent in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and above 95 per cent among Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. In the Syrian Arab Republic, while the vast majority of Palestinian children attend basic education schools operated by UNRWA, 14 per cent are enrolled in Syrian public schools. Girls outnumber boys in secondary schools, where net enrolment rates are relatively low: 71 per cent in 2007 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 63 per cent in 2006 in Lebanon and 71 per cent in public schools in the Syrian Arab Republic. Net secondary school enrolment rate among Palestinians in Jordan is much higher (93 per cent).

10.   Paralleling basic education trends in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, preschool enrolment rates have declined sharply, from an estimated 34 per cent among those aged 4 in 1996/1997 to 25 per cent in 2006/2007. In Jordan, the UNRWA education programme does not include nurseries or kindergartens. Enrolment of Palestinian refugee children in pre-elementary facilities in camps in Lebanon was high in 2008, at 73 per cent of children aged 3 to 5 years old, while the corresponding figure in the Syrian Arab Republic was only 6 per cent.

11.   Progress on education quality has been limited by overcrowded classrooms, unmotivated teachers, poverty and, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the ongoing conflict and restrictions on access. Only one in five of 16,000 Gazan sixth-graders passed standardized tests in math, science, English and Arabic in 2007/2008, as did about half of their peers in Nablus and Jenin. The “Tawjihi” (national university entrance level) matriculation exam results of 2009 reveal downward trends since 2008: West Bank literature scores dropped by 13 per cent and science scores in Gaza fell by 10 per cent. Poor exam results and falling school enrolments point to a crisis in Palestinian education in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon. The vast majority of refugee schools run on double shifts to accommodate the sheer number of students, meaning shorter school days, less personal attention and a lack of space for recreational and extracurricular activities. In the Syrian Arab Republic, the need to improve the quality of education is recognized as a challenge by both UNRWA and the General Administration for Palestine Arab Refugees (GAPAR).

12.   In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, children live with persistent violence. More than 1,475 Palestinian children were killed in conflict between the beginning of the second intifada in 2000 and the end of January 2009. During the 22-day military operation in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009, about 1,400 Palestinians were reported to have been killed, including 350 children, and over 5,000 injured, including around 1,600 children There were also 13 Israelis killed, including 3 civilians, and 518 injured during the conflict. In Gaza,  280 schools were damaged or destroyed, along with about half of all health facilities and over 50,000 homes. More than one year after the cessation of hostilities, recovery and reconstruction work continues to be hampered by the blockade and severe restriction on supply imports. Imports through the crossings in December 2009 were 5 per cent below the monthly average of 2009, and 81 per cent below the monthly average in the first five months of 2007, before the imposition of the blockade. Construction supplies needed to repair and rebuild comprised an even smaller proportion.

13.   Juvenile justice is an area of particular concern in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In 2009, an average of 355 children (primarily boys) were being detained in Israeli facilities each month, up 11 per cent from 2008. Children as young as  12 years old are prosecuted in Israeli military courts. They are tried as adults as soon as they become 16, contrary to the Israeli law whereby majority is attained at 18. Approximately 30 Palestinian children each year are subject to “administrative detention”, up to six months without charge or trial, often with a risk of repeated extensions, based on confidential information that is not made available to the child or the defence. In Lebanon, Palestinian children are in conflict with the law in about 10 per cent of all registered cases of juvenile delinquency. However, in south Lebanon, according to data from the Ministry of Justice, up to 40 per cent of such cases are likely to involve Palestinians, which is disproportionately high compared to the population pattern in that part of the country.

 

Key results and lessons learned from the previous cooperation (2008-2010)

  

Key results achieved

 

14.   Child survival, growth and development. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, UNICEF continued to provide procurement and technical support to the Ministry of Health in vaccine procurement, including for the introduction of new vaccines. In 2009, the Palestinian Authority assumed financial responsibility for the procurement of the full complement of essential vaccines for children. Routine immunization coverage above 97 per cent for all antigens has been maintained for the past seven years, and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is on track to eliminate polio, measles and tetanus by 2010. In Jordan, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health collaborated to build the capacity of UNRWA doctors and nurses by focusing on detection of child abuse and integrated management of child illnesses. More than 90 per cent of UNRWA health centres now have staff with training in Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses.

15.   In Lebanon, a sustained immunization coverage rate of over 95 per cent was achieved. Between 2000 and 2006 the infant mortality rate declined from 38 to 26 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the U5MR fell from 48.5 to 31 per 1,000, and the maternal mortality ratio from 150 to 51 deaths per 100,000 live births. In the Syrian Arab Republic, vaccination coverage among infants 12 and 18 months old was sustained at over 99 per cent. Under the leadership of GAPAR and in coordination with the Ministry of Health, community outreach health capacity was developed in six of the neediest camps under the ‘healthy camp’ model to improve the awareness of parents and adolescents on parenting and preventive health measures.

16.   Universal primary education. In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a UNICEF-supported child profile database, including social, health and academic indicators, was piloted in 18 West Bank schools in 2009, with plans to go to scale in 2010. UNICEF-developed mathematics and science kits to enable interactive learning were recognized as an innovative practice. In Lebanon, the proportion of Palestinian refugee children entering the first primary class and reaching the fifth class increased from 86 per cent to 92 per cent. Access to preschool (3-5 years old) increased from 56 per cent to 73 per cent in 2009. Remarkable progress was made in preschool attendance for 4- and 5-year-olds, reaching 82 and 93 per cent, respectively. In an effort to reduce the dropout rate among UNRWA students at the primary level, UNICEF initiated remedial education classes to help students identified by teachers as at risk of failing. These classes were integrated into the newly established UNRWA Remedial Education Initiative in 2009, with 75 per cent of students completing the course. In the Syrian Arab Republic, quality of education was improved through technical support to UNRWA to further develop and implement a child-friendly school model. By December 2009, all 119 UNRWA schools and 3 GAPAR education institutes were implementing 5 of the 10 criteria in the model.

17.   Child protection. UNICEF-supported policy and institutional advances in the Occupied Palestinian Territory included the amended Child Law, endorsed by the Council of Ministers and awaiting Presidential signature; piloting of the Non-Violence in School Policy in 93 schools; and establishment of three cross-sectoral Child Protection Networks and two Family and Child Units within the police, along with the relevant referral protocols. Direct psychosocial support provided through non-governmental partners in 2008-2009 reached over 100,000 children and caregivers.

18.   In Jordan, the child protection programme contributed to building protective environments: it raised the capacity of 5,000 children to protect themselves from violence and abuse; facilitated participation in summer camps by at-risk children and children with disabilities through peer-to-peer sessions on child rights and skills; improved social workers’ capacities to provide proper counselling to 599 persons in four camps; and improved safe spaces for children in all UNRWA schools under the Ma’an Campaign (an initiative encouraging teachers to adopt non-violent disciplinary methods). In Lebanon, the programme built the capacity of  360 professional staff on legal procedures for protection. A total of 650 children and women benefited from the counselling centres; 10 per cent were referred to specialized psychiatrists. In the Syrian Arab Republic, a school-based child protection system aiming at reducing violence was implemented in all 119 UNRWA schools and 3 GAPAR institutes.

19.   Development and participation of adolescents. Over 140 UNICEF-supported youth centres throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory provided recreational and remedial activities to over 45,000 adolescents in 2009. A comprehensive participatory evaluation of the Palestinian adolescent programme funded by the Government of Norway showed extensive impact. It found evidence of self-reported behavioural change on the part of the participants and their parents and wider benefits for community and programme partners. In Jordan, the programme helped improve accessibility, especially for girls, to safe spaces in all 14 Women Programme Centres, where staff were trained in adolescent programming and participation. The Better Parenting Programme for parents of adolescents worked with 4,000 parents to improve their understanding of their children’s needs, develop their communication skills and support their participation in the wider community.

20.   In Lebanon, over 2,000 children and youth have benefited from peer education, focusing on HIV/AIDS and conflict resolution, training on ways to deal with violence, inter-generational dialogue, action research and adolescent-led projects. In the Syrian Arab Republic, the programme supported establishment of eight adolescent-friendly spaces in six camps. This model, developed in Palestinian camps, was shared with partners for replication. By establishing a partnership with the Syria Trust for Development non-governmental organization (NGO), the programme was instrumental in introducing career guidance in camps and spearheaded research by adolescents, with 11 such projects conducted since 2008.

21.   Advocacy, communication, social policy planning, monitoring and evaluation. In 2009, the UNICEF office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued its media outreach and hosted a series of high-profile missions, which included the UNICEF Executive Director, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and three UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors. In its capacity as Chair of the Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory working group on grave violations against children, UNICEF submitted a report on grave violations committed against children during the Gaza crisis to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

22.   A child-budget analysis by UNICEF Jordan strengthened evidence-based advocacy to improve allocation of resources for children and realization of their rights. In Lebanon, the DevInfo database includes all data from the MICS surveys of 2000 and 2006, in addition to a number of other surveys and assessments of the situation in the camps, forming a unique set of evidence collected over a decade. The database is run in collaboration with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (located in Damascus). In the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF contributed to the development of a child rights culture, targeting duty-bearers, caregivers and children by training professionals and parents and holding activities with children, such as summer camps, adolescent groups and children’s parliaments in schools.

  

 Lessons learned

 

23.   Occupied Palestinian Territory. A dynamic civil society and NGO community has proved effective at programme implementation, with significant results achieved, especially in adolescent and psychosocial support programming that contributes to more fundamental and lasting impact. This strong partnership with civil society and the recognised convening role of UNICEF with government, civil society and United Nations agencies have proved effective in implementing the cluster approach in child protection; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); education; and mental health and psychosocial support.

 

24.   Jordan. Data collection for Palestinian refugees has been improved through surveys and studies, providing information on Palestinian refugees in camps and UNRWA schools. Further efforts will be made to identify the needs of vulnerable Palestinian children outside camps. Working with NGOs in the camps has been important for achieving the goals of the area programme, and UNICEF will continue to advocate for their increased involvement. Cooperation between UNICEF and UNRWA has proved successful where UNICEF has provided the much-needed technical assistance in child rights to improve the quality of UNRWA services. As a result of this cooperation, UNRWA is developing a youth strategy to mainstream youth work.

 

25.   Lebanon. In addition to UNRWA, UNICEF has remained among the few United Nations agencies with a programme presence in the Palestinian camps. UNICEF-supported initiatives in the camps involving adolescents and young people in research and data collection in their own communities offered an entry point for wider participation of young Palestinians in decisions affecting their lives. Youth clubs, libraries, inter-generational dialogue and psychosocial counselling centres provide other examples of interventions that can accommodate developmental and participation needs of adolescents and young people. UNICEF-supported teachers are now increasingly integrated into the system of UNRWA schools, with a focus on early primary school years and preventive detection and addressing of learning difficulties.

 

26.   Syrian Arab Republic. Involving adolescents and youth in planning, evaluation and implementation of the programme emerged as a strong asset for all partners in the programme. The participation of Palestinian adolescents alongside Iraqi refugees and Syrian adolescents in the midterm review of the UNICEF country programme fostered new ideas. Partners shared skills through exchange of trainers (child-friendly schools, school-based child protection, nutrition surveillance and adolescent health). New horizons were opened for Palestinian adolescents through support given to linking youth groups.

  

 The area programme, 2011-2013

  

 Summary budget table

  

 

(In thousands of United States dollars)

Programme

Regular resources

Other resources

Total

 

 

 

 

 

Young child survival, development, growth (health, nutrition, WASH) 

2 790

7 360

10 150

–  Occupied Palestinian Territory

1 650

6 700

8 350

–  Lebanon

750 

300

1 050

–  Jordan

390 

360

750

Education, ECD, learning for development

2 710

8 800

11 510

–   Occupied Palestinian Territory (combined with adolescents component) 

1 650

8 200

9 850

–  Lebanon

660 

300

960

–  Syrian Arab Republic 

400

300

700 

Adolescents, youth development, participation and empowerment

1 320

910

2 230

–  Jordan

720 

510

1 230

–  Syrian Arab Republic 

600

400

1 000

Child protection

1 530

4 760

6 290

–  Occupied Palestinian Territory

900

4 280

5 180

–   Lebanon (combined with adolescents component)

330

300 

630

–  Jordan

300 

180

480

Policy, advocacy, planning, knowledge management, partnerships, monitoring and evaluation

1 460

1 950

3 410

–  Occupied Palestinian Territory

1 050

1 800

2 850

–  Syrian Arab Republic 

200

50

250 

–  Lebanon

120 

100

220

–  Jordan

90 

90

Cross-sectoral costs

2 190

2 305

4 495

–  Occupied Palestinian Territory

1 050

2 305

3 355

–  Lebanon

840 

840

–  Syrian Arab Republic 

300

300 

–  Jordan

 

 Total

12 000

26 085

38 085

Occupied Palestinian Territory 

6 300

23 285

29 585

Lebanon

2 700 

1 000

3 700

Jordan

1 500 

1 050

2 550

Syrian Arab Republic

1 500

750

2 250

 

Preparation process

 27.   A desk study on the Situation of Palestinian Children and Women in Jordan, Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Syrian Arab Republic was coordinated by the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office in 2009-2010, informing the development of the area programme and other initiatives. The report was prepared in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, including the Palestinian Authority, GAPAR and the Syrian Planning Commission in the Syrian Arab Republic and UNWRA in all four areas, plus NGOs and civil society organizations. The results of the study were discussed formally with key national counterparts in all four areas. Formulation of area programme components in all four areas was based on national development priorities and took into consideration the complementarity of development assistance to the Palestinians in the four areas by United Nations partners.

 Relationship to national priorities and UNDAF

 28.   While there is no United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the programme is coordinated within the United Nations country team (UNCT) and is consistent with national goals expressed in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan 2008-2010 and the Palestinian National Plan (2011-2013), under formulation. In Jordan, the programme components contribute to the achievement of two UNDAF outcomes and ten UNDAF outputs as well as the national priorities of Kulluna Al-Ordon (Jordan reform process for social/political/economic development), the National Plan of Action for children and poverty reduction goals. In Lebanon, the Ministerial Statement of the Government on Progress and Development calls on international organizations to uphold their full responsibilities to the Palestinians and strengthen UNRWA. UNDAF outcomes 1 and 2 refer to the continued support to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon by means of advisory, coordination and technical support to the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee. In the Syrian Arab Republic, programme results contribute to the priorities of the National Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). The programme focus corresponds to UNDAF outcome 3, which aims at improving quality of and access to basic services, and to the UNDAF focus on underserved areas and vulnerable groups. The focus of the adolescents programme component is in line with the adolescent and youth development priority set as one of the two United Nations system priorities in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Relationship to international priorities

 29.   Programme priorities are informed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Millennium Development Goals and Millennium Declaration.

A.  Occupied Palestinian Territory

Programme component results and strategies

 30.   The 2011-2013 programme will support the Palestinian Authority in meeting its obligation to ensure that every child and adolescent enjoys his/her right to survive and develop, learn, grow up free from violence and acquire the knowledge and skills to protect him/herself and others from substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. The main cross-cutting expected result is that children and adolescents are given priority in the allocation of resources and development of public policies. Others are to reduce gender disparities in society and to facilitate, promote and empower adolescents as actors in the social, economic and cultural spheres. Social mobilization and communication for development will be used to empower families and communities with skills for better care and protection of children.

31.   In partnership with the UNCT, UNICEF will focus on supporting the Palestinian Authority to implement its state-building agenda, as defined in the Palestinian Authority’s programme of the 13th Government. UNICEF will specifically support the Palestinian Authority in aligning legislation and practices with the principles and standards outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, and in coordination with the UNCT and the Humanitarian Coordination Team, UNICEF will focus on children in vulnerable communities in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

32.   Taking into consideration the political constraints that have resulted in a protracted humanitarian crises while at the same time allowing for nascent development, the programme strategies are designed to respond to humanitarian needs that can suddenly escalate, and also to provide support for maximizing development opportunities to realize the rights of children. Accordingly, advocacy will continue to be emphasized to address the critical issues of access to reduce the harm caused to children. Emergency preparedness will be integrated into all programme components.

 Programme components

33.   The Occupied Palestinian Territory programme has four main components, primarily linked with the UNICEF medium-term strategic plan focus areas 1, 2, 4 and 5. Activities related to focus area 3 are incorporated into the learning for development component under the adolescents result area. The programme is designed to bring major results in health, nutrition, WASH, education, adolescents, child protection, monitoring and evaluation, social policy and communication and advocacy.

34.  Child survival and development. This programme comprises health, nutrition and WASH. The health component will focus on reducing neonatal mortality by ensuring that high-risk newborns, pregnant women and sick children have access to and use quality maternal, newborn and child health services. The programme will emphasize expanding access to antenatal, obstetric and newborn care and facilitating the introduction of new vaccines while sustaining high coverage of routine antigens through vaccine procurement services to the Ministry of Health. The nutrition component will focus on ensuring that malnourished children and high-risk pregnant women have access to and use appropriate micronutrient supplementation and feeding practices. Communication for development will be the primary tool in the prevention and treatment of micronutrient malnutrition through awareness-raising, supplementation and fortification.

35.   Both the health and the nutrition components will increasingly focus on policy analysis and institutional capacity-building to strengthen information management, monitoring and evaluation systems. The WASH component will emphasize families in targeted vulnerable communities in the West Bank and Gaza, ensuring they have access to 60 litres and 15 litres, respectively, of safe water per person per day for drinking and domestic use. This will require a focus on improving water networks and enhancing the capacity of government counterparts to develop legislation and plan and perform water quality surveillance, as well as on upgrading the information management system. Water quality will be addressed partly through rehabilitation and extension of sewage networks to minimize cross-contamination. Communication for development will be the primary approach to increasing community awareness and good practices related to water conservation, safe water handling and the negative implications of illegal connections.

36.  Learning for development. This programme, comprising two components, focuses on key stages of learning from early childhood to adolescence. The education component will support national capacity to obtain evidence of and adjust declines in education quality and shift the professional focus from inputs and teaching to outputs and learning. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education will be supported to implement the early childhood development (ECD) policy and promote early childhood learning opportunities in communities with low-performing schools. Children in the lowest-performing government schools will be helped through in-service teacher training, extra-curricular activities, improvements to the learning environment and strengthening the capacity of education administrators to promote interactive and child-centred learning.

37.   The adolescents component will cover the entire Occupied Palestinian Territory, focusing on vulnerable communities with a large percentage of at-risk youth, targeting 135,000 adolescents aged 10-18 years. Through technical assistance and strengthening the capacity of Government, NGOs/community-based organizations, the private sector and youth networks, this component will promote civic engagement and participation of adolescents. The goal is to ensure that each year 10 per cent of adolescent boys and girls will gain the knowledge, capacities and skills, including those related to HIV, to support the transition from childhood to adulthood.

38.  Child protection. In accordance with Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), the UNICEF-led Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory working group on grave violations against children will monitor and report regularly to the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. Through strengthening emergency support services, including psychosocial approaches, the programme will address the emergency and conflict-related needs of Palestinian children. It will continue to support the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Social Affairs to develop, implement and monitor national child protection systems in all social sectors to ensure that children at risk of or subject to violence, exploitation and abuse benefit from improved and coordinated services.

39.   The programme will: (a) support the Ministry of Social Affairs, in partnership with other ministries, in developing and implementing a National Child Protection Action Plan in line with the amended 2004 Child Law; (b) work with relevant ministries and implementing partners in building the capacity of front-line child protection workers; and (c) empower families and caregivers to better protect children. The practices and impact of juvenile justice systems will be assessed and addressed to bring them in line with international standards.

40.  Evidence, policy and advocacy. UNICEF will strengthen evidence-based public policy development through this cross-cutting programme. Research and analysis on children and women, based on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, will address poverty and disparity, social budgeting and social protection. It will be made available and used in planning and policy making as well as in communication and advocacy for child-friendly budgeting. UNICEF will ensure a continuous contribution to addressing information gaps through commissioned research and to programme improvement through evaluating the effectiveness of programme interventions. With partners, UNICEF will implement communication strategies to advocate and mobilize for prioritization of child rights by national authorities, civil society, the international community and the media.

41.  Cross-sectoral. Although the Occupied Palestinian Territory is small in geographic area, the complexities of its operating environment demand a high level of cross-sectoral support. Security requires heightened focus in a context where major and minor conflicts can quickly threaten the safety of staff and assets. Supplies are a major part of programming and the logistical support required is subject to complex procedures and extended negotiations involving both the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel. Cross-sectoral costs also cover routine administration, finance, human resources and information and communication technologies support.

 Major partnerships

42.   UNICEF partners include the Ministries of Planning and Administrative Development; Health; Education; Social Affairs; Youth and Sports; Justice; Labour; Interior; the Palestinian Water Authority and Gaza’s Coastal Municipal Water Utility; the Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics; NGOs, including the YMCA, Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, Community Training Centre and Crisis Management, Ma’an Development Centre, and Tamer Institute for Community Education; and academic institutions, including Birzeit University. UNRWA is also a major partner, and UNICEF works closely with the UNCT and the Humanitarian Coordination Team, under the leadership of the Special Representative and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

B.  Syrian Arab Republic

Programme component results and strategies

 43.   The 2011-2013 programme component expected results are as follows: 

 (a)   Palestinian parents and children enjoy improved access to quality ECD services, with (i) access to kindergarten by 20 per cent of children in at least five of the neediest camps; and (ii) reduction of stunting by one third among children under 5 by the end of the cycle;

   (b)   Palestinian adolescents are empowered to take an active role in their communities as agents of positive change, with (i) at least 20 per cent of all Palestinian adolescents having correct knowledge about how to prevent HIV/AIDS and sickle cell anaemia and about the risks associated with early marriage; (ii) access to career guidance by children enrolled in UNRWA schools cycle 2 and in 3 GAPAR institutions; and (iii) empowerment of adolescent groups to conduct peer counselling/training for the most at-risk adolescents in at least five of the neediest camps;

 (c)   Knowledge on Palestinian children is improved for evidence-based planning and advocacy, with development indicators on children and women updated every three years, informing a sustainable knowledge system shared with partners.

44.   To achieve these results, programme strategies will include the following:

 (a)   Support partners’ institutional capacity-building and training pools of trainers, particularly among adolescents and youth;

 (b)   Apply the human rights-based approach to planning with partners to support the most vulnerable children and families living in the neediest camps;

  (c)   Provide high-level expertise in support of selected initiatives aimed at improving service quality, while ensuring information-sharing and synergies among sectors;

 (d)   Act as a convener to support joint programming on youth as part of the United Nations Adolescents and Youth Development Theme Group;

 (e)   Ensure integration of disabled children and adolescents in all interventions;

 (f)   Ensure that promotion of gender equality is at the heart of all programme interventions, emphasizing providing opportunities for adolescent girls to develop and participate.

 

 Programme components

 

45.  ECD and basic education. The objective of this programme is improved access to quality ECD services by Palestinian parents and children. The programme will aim to achieve the following results:

 (a)   Standards for quality early childhood education and basic education are adapted, improved and disseminated, particularly in the neediest camps;

 (b)   The nutrition status of Palestinian children under age 5 is improved. The programme will support UNRWA in fully integrating child nutrition screening in all of its clinics. Support will also be provided to children and mothers living in the neediest camps through targeted awareness campaigns;

 (c)   Health, nutrition and parenting awareness is raised in targeted neediest camps, involving communities and adolescents and youth. Building on experience with partners on community outreach interventions, the programme will support interventions in the neediest camps to enhance parents’ and adolescents’ knowledge on preventive health and nutrition. The focus will be on the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and child nutrition practices;

 (d)   The UNWRA health system is enhanced to integrate mechanisms for prevention of common diseases among Palestinian children, with a focus on institutionalizing preventive measures related to sickle cell anaemia and other risks associated with contiguous marriages (among relatives).

46.   Adolescent development. The overarching aim of the programme is to empower all Palestinian adolescents living in the 16 official and non-official camps to take an active role in their communities as agents of positive change, with an emphasis on adolescent girls. The programme will achieve the following results:

 (a)   The education system ensures transfer of skills to adolescents to improve their transition from education to the labour market and their access to sustainable livelihoods. It will support expansion of career guidance and integration of life skills training in all UNRWA schools and GAPAR institutes;

 (b)   Adolescents participate as partners in raising awareness on preventive health and promotion of healthy lifestyles, including through the peer-to-peer approach. The focus will be on dissemination of correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention in line with priorities and strategies agreed upon with the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic under the National HIV/AIDS Plan;

 (c)   Along with partners and communities, adolescents participate in the prevention of violence, abuse and exploitation. Through their active involvement, the programme will continue to support UNRWA and GAPAR to improve child protection systems, including at school level;

 (d)   Initiatives for adolescent networking, exchange of knowledge and skills are enhanced. Together with GAPAR and UNRWA, UNICEF will support adolescent groups in developing relations with one another through shared initiatives to enhance knowledge and generate new opportunities for development.

47.   Knowledge management, advocacy, planning, partnerships. The overarching aim of the programme is improved knowledge on Palestinian children for evidence-based planning and advocacy. The programme aims to achieve the following two results:

 (a)   Institutionalization of knowledge management is supported for evidence-based planning. The programme will focus on updating knowledge on Palestinian children and women living in the Syrian Arab Republic and supporting sustainable knowledge management systems shared between GAPAR and UNRWA and connected with the national system. The DevInfo platform will be used to disseminate data;

 (b)   Advocacy for partnerships for Palestinian children is expanded, including by national NGOs, the private sector and the media. With the involvement of GAPAR and the Ministry of Information, the programme will engage the media in advocating for Palestinian children’s rights. It will also promote wider involvement of national NGOs and the private sector in supporting development initiatives for children and women at camp level.

  

Major partnerships

 

48.   Major partners in implementation of the programme are GAPAR and UNRWA. GAPAR also provides UNRWA with oversight in the provision of basic services to all Palestinians registered with UNRWA. Together with GAPAR and UNRWA, UNICEF will work towards the active involvement of local community and mass organizations as well as the private sector and the media. At camp level, under the leadership of GAPAR, local development committees will be engaged in programme planning. The programme will also support collaboration with technical actors in Syrian government institutions, particularly with State Planning Commission, Central Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. Support will also be provided to strengthening links with non-governmental actors working to advance the Syrian national development agenda, particularly as it relates to adolescent development.

    

 C.  Lebanon

 

  Programme component results and strategies

 

49.   The programme aims to contribute towards realizing the rights of Palestinian children to survival, development, protection and participation. The overarching strategy is to strengthen the capacity of UNRWA, other duty-bearers, families and NGOs to deliver the required services. It will work to provide models and solutions applicable in all Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

  

 Programme components

 

50.   Child survival, growth and development. This component is focused on reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health by ensuring universal immunization and reducing anaemia rates among children 1 to 13 years of age and lactating mothers. The desired result is a reduction in infant mortality from the current 26 deaths per 1,000 live births to 20 per 1,000; and reduction in the U5MR from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births to 25 per 1,000. The interventions will work to ensure the immunization of all Palestinian children and strengthen paediatric emergency care services. UNICEF will also promote and support health education and social mobilization interventions to increase awareness among parents and caregivers on the main causes of infant mortality.

51.   The key results will be (a) immunization coverage for children 0-5 years old of more than 95 per cent for all antigens; and (b) 95 per cent coverage of children (1-13 years) and lactating mothers with two doses of vitamin A supplement. In collaboration with UNRWA’s Health Department, UNICEF will design strategies to improve the nutritional status of Palestinian children and advocate for donor support to address this important issue.

52.   Universal primary education. The programme will seek to ensure that children’s right to primary education is recognized and fulfilled by key duty-bearers. UNICEF experience in ECD will be increasingly infused into the preschool education system managed by UNRWA. Within the context of a child-friendly school model, UNICEF will also support UNRWA in developing and establishing a remedial education system for all children in grades 1 to 4, aiming to reach 98 per cent school enrolment in primary school and 95 per cent completion at the end of grade 5. Repetition rates throughout primary school will be closely monitored, with a goal of reducing them from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

53.   Child protection and adolescents. The programme seeks to prevent all forms of violence against children at school and establish child protection mechanisms in Palestinian refugee camps, emphasizing girls and young women. The main strategies will be to build capacity in UNRWA schools to stop violence at school and to build the capacity of UNRWA, NGO service providers and communities to recognize and respond to cases of violence and abuse against children and refer them to competent, adequately trained service providers.

54.   This component will also aim to provide opportunities for sports and recreation and for access to information, vocational training and help with job searches and income generation. The focus will be on vulnerable young people, such as school dropouts and those living in particularly impoverished conditions or originating from female-headed households. Synergy will be sought between adolescent and youth programmes in the Lebanon country programme and the Palestinian area programme.

55.   Monitoring and evaluation. The programme seeks to improve the knowledge base of UNRWA and all stakeholders to strengthen their institutional capacity and support their planning and implementation activities. This will also facilitate advocacy efforts and social mobilization for the rights of Palestinian children and women. UNICEF will continue to promote gender-disaggregated data and to involve partners and communities themselves in performance monitoring and evaluation initiatives. For instance, UNICEF will support the establishment of a database that includes a set of core indicators to document and analyse progress towards full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the areas covered by this programme. The results expected will be an updated DevInfo and establishment of a rights-based monitoring system that includes comprehensive, gender-sensitive and geographically disaggregated data that (funds permitting) will cover all Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

  

 Major partnerships

 

56.   The partnership with the UNRWA departments of Education, Health and Social Welfare and the recently established Protection Department will be further strengthened and a consolidated joint plan of activities will be drafted for 2010 and beyond. UNICEF will also progressively adopt a convening role in child protection, gender and education issues as a way of strengthening partnerships and coordination with NGOs, camp committees, Palestinian adolescent and youth organizations, civil society and major service providers.

   

 D.  Jordan

 

  Programme, programme component results and strategies

 

57.   The goal of the programme is to contribute to realizing the rights of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, with particular emphasis on strengthening counterparts’ capacity to encourage adolescent participation and development, enhance child survival and development and protect children from violence and abuse. The programme will support strategic research and generation of data to inform decision-making and planning and to advocate for child-related legislative and policy reform.

 

58.   The focus will be on institutional and individual capacity-building, advocacy for policy change and technical assistance in planning and monitoring of programme interventions. A key strategy will be participation of children and adolescents in communication for development.

  

 Programme components

 

59.   Young child survival and development. This programme contributes to achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4 (reduction of child mortality), seeking to improve health services quality and reduce the number of neonatal and young child deaths. The key results expected include: (a) a 40 per cent increase in the number of under-five children benefiting from integrated health and nutrition care in all camps in Jordan; and (b) a 25 per cent increase in the number of children benefiting from ECD services in camps and selected areas of high concentration of Palestinians outside camps, through community-based, family-focused and child-friendly approaches.

60.   Child protection. The programme aims to strengthen the protective environment through two components:  

 

 (a)   Monitoring, evaluating and raising awareness to support the establishment of systems for data collection, assessment and evaluation of key protection indicators. This will be used to monitor abuse, exploitation and violence against children as well as the status of children in conflict with the law. Special attention will be given to empowering children, families and communities through awareness-raising to address causes of vulnerability in their community;

 (b)   Service delivery and capacity-building, in particular strengthening the capacities of law enforcement officers, social workers and doctors to prevent, diagnose and manage child abuse cases. Counselling and psychosocial support services will be built for abused or at-risk children. Schools will be encouraged to develop monitoring systems to detect violence against children and provide needed psychosocial support. The expected results are: (i) a 90 per cent reduction in teacher violence towards children in schools; and (ii) improved protection of children against violence, exploitation and abuse through promotion of a protective environment in all camps. The programme will be implemented in all 14 camps and in areas with a high concentration of vulnerable Palestinian refugees in partnership with UNRWA and NGOs.

61.   Adolescent participation and empowerment. This programme will continue to enhance opportunities for adolescents to develop, learn and participate. The key results are:

 (a)   Increase participation by students and parents in decision-making processes regarding the school environment in all UNRWA schools;

 (b)   Five per cent reduction in the dropout rate in the two refugee camps with the highest incidence;

 (c)   Improved knowledge and implementation of healthy living practices among adolescents (especially at-risk groups) in the 14 official and unofficial camps to encourage a healthy lifestyle and help adolescents to protect themselves from HIV and substance abuse;

 (d)   Increased involvement of adolescents as change agents in their families and communities, including in influencing decisions and policies that affect their lives. The programme will enhance their accessibility to adolescent-friendly services in UNRWA schools and their communities through cooperation with the UNRWA-affiliated women’s programme centres. The programme will support implementation of the National Youth Survey (2010-2011), which will provide updated information on the situation, priorities and aspirations of young people; development of the National Youth Strategy; and operationalization of the National Criteria on Adolescent Friendly Youth Centres. These key interventions are led by the Jordan country programme.

62.   Knowledge base and advocacy. The programme seeks to improve the knowledge base, advocacy efforts and social policies in support of child rights and to strengthen the institutional capacity of partners in results-oriented planning, performance monitoring and evaluation. The expected key results are: (a) improved knowledge and data on children and a functioning system for monitoring and analysis of factors undermining children’s and women’s rights, by 2013; (b) increased public awareness of the challenges facing children; and (c) strengthened partnerships, including with the media.

  

Major partnerships

 

63.   The Department of Palestinian Affairs, UNRWA, NGOs and the Ministries of Health and Education and Higher Council for Youth are important partners. The cross-sectoral nature of the interventions requires close collaboration with all partners. Joint programming, thematic consultations and inter-agency cooperation will be undertaken through UNDAF thematic groups.

  

Monitoring, evaluation and programme management (for the area programme as a whole)

  

64.   The area programme will be managed by the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office, and each country office will implement its component of the programme. Monitoring and evaluation will be coordinated through integrated monitoring, evaluation and research plans and the Regional Task Force on the Palestinian Area Programme. Each country will monitor the performance of its component of the area programme by developing monitoring and evaluation plans focused on measuring progress towards the achievement of programme component results. The DevInfo database in each country and MENAInfo at the regional level will support monitoring of the situation of children and women, especially progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

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