Assistance to the Palestinian People – Programme of Cooperation 1998-1999 – UNSCO report


I. Executive Summary

This document is a comprehensive presentation for the United Nations Programme of Cooperation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 1998-99. It is addressed primarily to donors and to other partners in the development initiative and is intended to put forward programme plans for the coming biennium, and to clarify the working context within which the United Nations Programme of Cooperation has been formulated.

Rather than adopting a purely sectoral approach, this Programme of Cooperation document sets out the wider United Nations framework and reiterates the UN's support for the Palestinian Authority's development priorities. As well as addressing the local situation, the document is intended to reflect the wider context within which United Nations programme planning takes place.

An assessment of the overall situation and brief sectoral profiles are offered as a lead-in to the presentation of programme plans, and are based on Palestinian Authority data where available. There are two main challenges common to all sectors: addressing the continuing impact of decades of infrastructural neglect; and supporting the ongoing development of locally-relevant, locally-managed institutions and systems.

The document presents the programme plans of 26 United Nations Agencies, Programmes and Funds currently involved in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, summarizing their involvement over the 1996-97 period and providing more detailed information on plans for 1998-99. The extent of United Nations involvement in the area is significant: in 1996, United Nations project expenditures totalled approximately US$254 million, and this figure is expected to be even higher in 1997.

Programme plans are presented by agency and are based on the inputs and documentation provided by each UN institution. Counterpart organizations for programme plans are inclusive: Palestinian Authority ministries and institutions; other UN organizations; civil society and local government structures; and non-governmental organizations.

Programme plans complement the Palestinian development agenda which, in 1997, highlighted as primary areas of concern a) investment in physical infrastructure; b) support for private-sector-led development; c) capacity development, particularly in the public sector; and d) support to the social welfare sector.

In sum, this document is intended to place the working plans of the United Nations within the operational context in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; to emphasize the United Nations' comparative advantage; to identify each individual agency's area of expertise and experience in social and capacity development; to ensure inter-agency complementarity; and to avoid duplication of effort and resources by all the partners in the development effort

II. Introduction

Since 1994, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations, the World Bank and other partners in the donor community have been cooperating in a development initiative aimed at translating the Middle East peace process into visible achievements on the ground. Coordinated aid distribution and programme implementation mechanisms have been established in order to maximize the efficiency of funding and its benefits.

The United Nations' priorities and strategies for attracting funding were previously articulated in distinct sectoral terms, as reflected by the publication of six sectoral papers, 'Putting Peace to Work' in September 1995 and 'Putting Peace to Work: The Human Face of Development' in October 1996. Given the improved planning capacity of the Palestinian Authority, United Nations programme formulation is being more closely integrated into the Palestinian Development Programme (PDP), which sets out the goals and priorities of the Palestinian Authority for 1998-2000. In addition, it was felt that the Programme of Cooperation document should articulate the two overriding themes – capacity development and sustainable human development – which characterize the primary objectives and activities of the United Nations contribution to the development effort in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The result is this year's one-volume comprehensive, theme-based, Programme of Cooperation document outlining United Nations strategies and activities for the next two years. The two themes emphasized in this document reflect the way in which the United Nations system is prioritizing its core human and financial resources, and identify the comparative advantage of the UN as a principal development partner. United Nations organizations, by adopting the common vision of development expressed in the major UN conferences of this decade, are strengthening the complementarity of their programmes, with each agency drawing upon its specific mandate and area of expertise to further the development process.

The current Programme of Cooperation is part of the expanded development effort initiated after the September 1993 signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, the 'Oslo accord'. A high-level task force subsequently appointed by the Secretary-General to assess needs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip highlighted the need to implement projects which would produce rapid and visible benefits in the daily lives of Palestinians, and stressed the importance of continuing support to ongoing programmes which contribute to Palestinian socio/economic well-being. At the time, United Nations activities, particularly through the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), accounted for approximately one-half of public sector spending in the Gaza Strip and one-third in the West Bank.

In October 1993, the first donor conference in support of the Middle East peace process resulted in pledges of US$2.4 billion towards socio/economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1994, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a Special Coordinator to serve as the focal point for all United Nations economic, social and other assistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Special Coordinator works closely with the Palestinian Authority and the World Bank, and represents the United Nations on the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and related bodies, which were established to follow-up on the Middle East donor conferences. While it is recognized that donors make their own decisions about funding in respect to United Nations projects and activities, the Special Coordinator serves as the focal point for dealing with the donor community, and also maintains relations with relevant regional organizations, financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

Since its inception, the Office of the Special Coordinator (UNSCO), has been instrumental in the establishment and effective functioning of donor coordination mechanisms with the aim of channeling the aid pledged at the 1993 Washington conference. These mechanisms, bringing together the Palestinian Authority, donors, the World Bank and the United Nations are:

the Local Aid Coordination Committee (LACC), provides a forum on the ground for discussing the main priorities and challenges to the development effort, and includes representatives from the Palestinian Authority and all locally-represented donors, including Israel;

the Joint Liaison Committee (JLC), a forum in which economic policy matters related to donor assistance are discussed; and

Sector Working Groups (SWGs), 11 sector-specific committees which facilitate communication and coordination between donors to particular sectors, specialized United Nations agencies and the relevant Palestinian Authority agency.

The United Nations role within these coordination mechanisms has enabled the organization to influence policy and present projects for donor consideration. The UN presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has increased from three organizations in 1993 to more than 25 in 1997, 15 of whom currently have offices in the field. Funds disbursed through United Nations regular budgets and funds for specific projects totaled approximately US$254 million in 1996.

III. Situation Assessment:

A. Socio/Economic Developments 1996/7

i. General Economic Trends

The West Bank and Gaza Strip has experienced major socio/economic fluctuations since early 1996. The first six months of 1996 were marked by severe economic decline largely attributable to the closure imposed following a series of suicide bombings in Israel which began in late February/early March. By the end of the second quarter of 1996, the overall unemployment rate had risen to 29.5 percent and the average daily wage had declined to US$14.91 – a 24 percent drop in six months.

More favourable economic conditions prevailed in the latter half of 1996, with third quarter unemployment dropping 6.7 points to 22.8 percent and the average daily wage rising by almost US$2.50 to $16.47. This trend continued throughout the fourth quarter, with a year end unemployment rate of 19.3 percent.5 From year end 1996 data, it appeared that the economy was recovering from the effects of the lengthy closure, and subsequent projections for 1997 by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund were relatively positive.

However, the comprehensive closure reimposed on the West Bank and Gaza following the 21 March 1997 bombing incident in Tel Aviv resulted in the scaling back of Palestinian workers legally working inside Israel and Israeli settlements, from a monthly average of 55,000 to approximately 20,000. As a result, the combined unemployment and underemployment rate at the end of the first quarter 1997 was estimated at 28.6 percent. From January-June 1997, there were 24 comprehensive closure days imposed by the Israeli authorities when even workers with permits were denied access to their jobs in Israel, a 14 percent loss in the number of working day opportunities for the first six months of 1997. Approximately 35,000 West Bank and Gaza Strip workers monthly were legally working inside Israel during this period.

These figures must be set within the context of pre-closure era figures from the early 1990s, when roughly 120,000 Palestinian workers entered Israel each day, and the mid-1980s when the number was estimated at 180,000. Current proposals tabled by an Israeli government committee, if approved, would allow a steady increase in the number of Palestinians allowed to work in Israel to a maximum of 70,000, with a certain percentage allowed to enter even under closures. This indicates clearly that, not only must the Palestinian economy find ways to accommodate the effects of this proposed ceiling on employment opportunities within Israel, but that future economic planning must take closures into consideration as a matter of course.

ii. Private Sector Activity

Years of conflict and instability have created an inhibitive investment environment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The private sector remains constrained by the closure, which severely affects access to supplies, capital and the labour market in Israel, and prevents the transfer of Palestinian products and services. In 1996, closures were responsible for a 29 percent loss of the number of days in which commercial exchanges and labour flows with Israel could take place. The restrictions on the flow of people and goods, together with the lack of independent sea and air ports, has resulted in increased operating costs, lost markets, and reduced profitability, consistently discouraging new investment over the four-year period 1992-96. Despite the constraints, however, total foreign investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1996 was estimated by the Ministry of Economy and Trade at US$1 billion, and domestic investment for the year totaled US$350-400 million.

iii. Impact at the Household Level

The labour force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, grew by 8.25 percent, 25 percent faster than the general population in 1996, far outstripping the creation of new employment possibilities. Not only are more people unemployed, but those with jobs are earning less for their working day. By year end 1996, the real daily wage in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had fallen by 14.24 percent from 1995 levels. Wages also pay for less: a labourer's average monthly earnings now cover only 64 percent of his family's essential needs. Under closure, the price of basic foodstuffs increased by eight to 10 percent in 1996 and the price of fuel went up by 14 percent. Such rapid price increases resulted in the PA's intervention in August 1996 to establish measures aimed at regulating supplies, prices and quality control. The impact of closure on Palestinian families has been such that UNSCO, based on IMF growth estimates for 1997, forecast that 'a solid year of economic growth in 1997 would restore overall income to its end-1995 level,' but would 'not result in improvements in the average incomes of Palestinians.'

One indicator of increasing economic distress is the higher rate of arrests in 1996-97 of Palestinian labourers illegally entering Israel. On average each week, 1000 Palestinians were detained in East Jerusalem or Israel without a permit, compared to a 1995 weekly average of 150. It would thus appear that as the closure becomes a fact of life, increasing numbers of Palestinians are risking high fines or detention in order to find work in Israel. In its 1992 projections for the West Bank and Gaza Strip economy through 2010, UNCTAD predicted that GDP would have to increase by four percent per annum in order to maintain unemployment at its 1990 rate of 10 percent. 'Failing that, unemployment will grow relentlessly,' reaching 50 percent by the year 2010. Faced with an average unemployment rate of over 25 percent for 1996, UNCTAD's emphasis on the gravity of the challenge posed by the limitation on Palestinian labour in Israel is even more accurate.

iv. Developments in the Peace Process

On 15 January 1997, agreement was reached on the issue of Israeli redeployment in the West Bank town of Hebron, the last of the Palestinian urban areas to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority. Under the Hebron Protocol, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a withdrawal of Israeli troops from 80 percent of the town and determined a timeline for a three-phase rural area redeployment in the West Bank, to be concluded by mid-1998. Final status negotiations, however, which were to have begun by May 1996, have yet to start, and a number of key interim-phase agreements have yet to be implemented.

1996 and early 1997 were marked by rising tensions and a high level of fear on both sides, resulting in a situation of increasing separation. Isolation of the two peoples not only takes away opportunities for exchange and dialogue – prerequisites for a durable peace – but is having a negative impact on Palestinian living levels, adding further to an increasing popular disillusionment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the lack of concrete benefits from the Oslo process.

Public frustrations reached an unprecedented high in September 1996, with confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli troops leaving 86 Palestinians and 16 Israelis dead. Notwithstanding, popular support for continued negotiations with Israel has remained consistently high (70 to 75 percent) throughout the four years since the signing of the Declaration of Principles in September 1993, even during the widespread clashes. This support dipped slightly just after the imposition of the comprehensive closure on 21 March 1997. More importantly, however, by April 1997, most Palestinians appeared to believe that the peace process has not been good for the Palestinian economy (27.4 percent in a recent poll felt that its impact has been 'very negative' and 42.7 'negative'). Consistent with this was the finding that 39.8 percent of those polled saw economic improvement as the single most important issue currently facing the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while only 23.1 percent placed the highest priority on the conclusion of negotiations with Israel.

This document presents a coordinated and comprehensive Programme of Cooperation for the years 1998-1999, which follows on from existing programme activities while adapting to the improving capacity of local counterparts and the changing levels of need in the various sectors. Following this introduction is an assessment of current socio/economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and sectoral profiles which detail the current status and priority needs in each field. This is followed by a presentation of the programme plans of each United Nations programme, fund and agency working in the field. The structure of the Programme of Cooperation document is intended to reflect the importance of both a sector-specific assignment of priorities and an integrated, complementary approach to the development initiative by the United Nations.

B. Summary of Development Concerns

Upon assuming responsibility for the provision of services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority took over health, education and infrastructure sectors. These had suffered consistent neglect over decades and required a complete physical and institutional overhaul to respond to the demands of a rapidly growing population. Despite a concerted development effort since 1994, the priority areas in all sectors remain: the upgrading of physical infrastructure and facilities; the enhancement of human resources; the development of policy-making frameworks; and the standardization of operating systems.

i. Indicators for West Bank and Gaza Strip / Neighbouring Countries

In a comparison of selected indicators, the West Bank and Gaza Strip fares relatively well compared to many developing nations. However, it may be more relevant to examine development indicators in comparison with neighbouring countries. For example, the average annual per capita GNP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1996 was approximately US$1,700: US$2,140 in the West Bank; and US$1,110 in the Gaza Strip. While on average higher than Jordan's US$1,440, this is just under 12 percent of the current estimated per capita GNP of US$17,000 for Israelis. The infant mortality rate for Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Strip is 28/1000 compared with 15.4 for Arab citizens of Israel.







2.38 million

5.0 million

5.1 million

60.9 million

GNP per capita/year





Life expectancy





Fertility rate















(IMR – deaths under the age of one year
U5MR – deaths under the age of five years)

ii. Palestinian Youth

Children under 15 number 1.2 million out of a total population of 2.38 million, which has important ramifications for present and future programme planning. Currently, the youth population places a high demand on health, education, and social welfare sectors; at the same time the economic and social infrastructure must accommodate their future entry into the labour market.

As a result of the current economic circumstances, greater numbers of children are leaving school to help support their families. Boys under the age of 16, who are not required to carry an identity card, can enter Israel and work when older male members of the family are unable to obtain a permit. In late 1995, an estimated 11.5 percent of boys aged 12 to 16 were working, a labour force participation rate almost as high as that of adult women. In 1996, UNICEF conducted a rapid assessment of 300 working male children to study the impact of closures, and found that two thirds had begun working in the previous 12 months, 45 percent in the previous six months.

iii. Disparities by Locale

Marked disparities in services exist between different areas and types of locale in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are reflected in a number of indicators. The infant mortality rate is estimated at 28/1000 and under-five mortality at 36/1000. The Gaza Strip has a higher IMR (32/1000) and U5MR (41/1000) than the West Bank (25/1000 and 32/1000 respectively), and a mid-1996 PCBS health survey found that children in Gaza had higher rates of stunting, wasting and indicators of undernutrition. In both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, villages have exhibited higher average IMRs and U5MRs when compared to towns and camps, due in part to UNRWA's provision of health services in the camps. Rural villages have also traditionally had less adequate school and health facilities than other locales, and inadequate or no electricity, piped water and waste disposal systems. There are growing pockets of urban poor as well, particularly in Gaza City.

Such disparities have guided the Palestinian Authority's policy planning in the provision of services and improvement of infrastructure and there has been visible improvement, although the gaps have yet to be bridged completely.

iv. Palestinian Women

The gender gap is another area of concern in development planning. According to UNICEF, 37 percent of Palestinian women marry, and 16 percent deliver their first child, aged less than 17 years of age.40 Although knowledge of family planning is widespread, with 99.3 percent of ever-married women reporting familiarity with most methods of contraception, only 50.7 percent of women in the West Bank and 33.9 percent in the Gaza Strip currently use contraception, of which only one third use 'modern' methods. Women's health is a concern; the maternal mortality rate is estimated at 70-80, according to UNICEF, and anaemia is high, particularly among pregnant women.

The female illiteracy rate in the West Bank is 32 percent and in Gaza 27 percent, compared with 8 percent and 21 percent for males respectively. Average female participation in the labour force was 12 percent in 1996, compared with 72 percent for men; while the number of employed women rose substantially during the period of the closure, it dropped again once employment opportunities for men improved. In addition, women's participation in the labour force is concentrated in agriculture (33 percent); the service sector (22 percent); and manufacturing (14 percent) – the sectors with the lowest average daily wages.

C. The Donor Initiative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

i. Sectoral Distribution of Assistance

At the 1993 Washington Conference to Support Middle East Peace, the donor community initially pledged over US$2.4 billion to be disbursed to the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the period 1994-98. According to figures compiled by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) and released in June 1997, approximately US$1.5 billion from the total pledged had been disbursed to projects on the ground.

In percentages of actual donor disbursements, as opposed to pledged commitments, the ranking of sectors according to MOPIC's database was as follows:

agriculture (1.18%)legal affairs (.08%)democracy development (3.18%)multiple sectors (30.96%)detainees/returnees (1.0%)police (5.13%)education (12.88%)private sector development (1.85%)energy (1.27%)solid waste (.57%)environment (.34%) telecommunications (.13%)health (7.59%)tourism/cultural resources (.78%)housing (5.05%)transportation (2.68%)human rights/civil society (.89%)undefined (6.39%)humanitarian aid (4.57%)water/sanitation (7.11%)industrial development (.46%)women (.45%) institution-building (5.48%)

In assessing the sectoral breakdown shown above, it should be noted that many disbursements may be applicable to more than one sector.

ii. Amendments Due to Budget Support / Relief Needs

The figures above do not fully reflect the cost of emergency measures required to offset the impact of closures. While total costs have yet to be assessed, some indicators are available. According to one analysis of the donor effort through late 1996, of the US$138 million disbursed to the employment sector from October 1993 to July 1996, US$25 million was allocated to fund public sector emergency employment generation programmes implemented by the Palestinian Authority. Of public sector allocations in the same period, almost half were for start-up expenses and transitional budget support, including employment creation.

iii. Level of Current Donor Assistance

At the November 1996 World Bank Consultative Group meeting in Paris, the donor community pledged a total of US$881 million in assistance to the Palestinian people in West Bank and Gaza Strip for the year 1997. This represents an approximate increase of 15 percent over the average annual pledge amount committed by donors for the period 1994-98.

D. Achievements and Challenges

'There is a saying that you should work for this world as if you are going to live forever, and work for the other world as if you will die tomorrow. This can be applied to the development plan for Palestine. There are things that need to be done, whatever happens. This is the time for a total commitment to development; this is the time when development is possible.'

Dr Nabil Sha'ath, PA Minister for Planning and International Cooperation


As a result of time, effort and initiative on the part of the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations and international donors, the PA's structure and operating procedures are taking shape and a governmental 'identity' is emerging. The United Nations continued its participation in the coordinated assistance structure, with efforts to more effectively integrate the planning and funding of the programmes of the Palestinian Authority, United Nations agencies and programmes, and donors. Development efforts have been directed to a programme of human resource and physical infrastructure improvement, with comprehensive capacity-building aimed primarily at the public sector. The election of the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 1996 has broadened the scope of governance; however the delineation of the various jurisdictional and regulatory areas remains an important issue. A basic law is in the process of being drafted and reviewed prior to adoption.

Closures, and the resultant reduction in earnings and employment over the past 18 months, have forced the Palestinian Authority and the donor community to focus much of its funding on short-term, emergency relief works and PA budget support. The Palestinian Authority had already shifted its focus from public investment expenditures to public consumption spending in order to alleviate the impact of the long-term closure, with public consumption levels more than doubling between 1992 and 1995. The 1996 comprehensive and internal closures necessitated even further increases in public consumption. The Paris Ministerial Conference on Economic Assistance to the Palestinian People held in January 1996 resulted in a commitment of US$72.5 million toward the projected PA 1996 budget deficit of US$75 million. The most recent estimates, however, put the 1996 year-end deficit total at over US$95 million. In formulating its 1996-98 fiscal plan, the Palestinian Authority has committed itself to limiting the recurring budget deficit. Of greater concern are the 'disruption and delays in building an efficient and enabling public infrastructure and civil service'. Under the PA's original budget plans for 1996, US$272 million was allocated to physical and institutional infrastructure, but by year end 1996 the Palestinian Authority had expended US$112 million less than anticipated in this sector due to the need to offset the effects of the closure.

The Palestinian Authority remains committed to the development strategy first formally presented to donors in January 1996, and despite the obstacles encountered, has worked steadily to implement sectoral plans, to visibly deliver improved services on the ground, and to continue the governmental infrastructure building needed to facilitate effective and comprehensive planning and implementation. The fundamental priorities of the development effort remain unchanged: support for visible socio/economic improvements in the daily lives of the Palestinian people, and the provision of the technical assistance required to build a solid basis for sustainable development.

IV. United Nations Programme Plans 1998-1999

A. The United Nations Approach to Global Development

In recent years, the United Nations has refocused its development strategy towards broader, more realistic objectives based on the 'mutually reinforcing relationship between reactivation of growth and development on the one hand and the improvement of the human condition on the other.' One the one hand, UN strategy aims at targeting policy and planning structures in order to provide more conducive frameworks for development, as well as the modernization of industrial and agricultural sectors through technical cooperation and comprehensive development planning. At the same time, the United Nations is increasingly prioritizing those programmes which address the social implications of economic change: human resource development; poverty eradication; population activities; gender parity; environmental protection; control of drug abuse and crime; and the link between development, democracy and human rights.

A series of international conferences held in the 1990s – the Fourth Decade for Development – reflect this changing approach. Each conference addressed a key area of development, reflecting global concerns and emphasizing the need for international cooperation:

World Summit for Children (1990);

World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, 1990);

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the 'Earth Summit'/Rio de Janeiro, 1992);

World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993);

International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994);

Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995);

World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995);

Second World Conference on Human Settlements ('Habitat II'/Istanbul, 1996).

The plans of action which emerged from these conferences reflect the importance with which development in key areas is viewed globally: '[e]ach of these plans of action called for the advancement and empowerment of women; each demanded basic social services for all. Each recognized the critical importance of employment and sustainable livelihoods. Each cited the necessity of a broad enabling environment for social and economic development. Each sought to sustain the environment and natural resources on which people depend. Each conference underlined the importance of human rights. These major themes, taken together, provide the basis for comprehensive action against poverty and for the improvement of the quality of life of the whole population.'

In the context of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a central goal for the United Nations is to serve as an advocate for the concerns addressed by these conferences. More importantly, through programme activities and development strategies – visible commitment to the principles embodied in the above plans of action – the United Nations objective will be to gradually integrate and harmonize the Palestinian development agenda with these internationally recognized goals.

B. The United Nations Initiative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

The United Nations has played a significant role in development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning with UNRWA in 1950. UNRWA has provided health, education and social welfare services to Palestinian refugees for almost 50 years. UNDP opened its office in 1980 and has since become an influential factor in the establishment and improvement of infrastructure and the provision of technical assistance. Following the first Israel-PLO agreement, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories in 1994, as an expression of the United Nation's support for the Middle East peace process, while at the same time greatly expanding the scope and level of its committed resources.

The United Nations has been central to the expanded development effort which followed the 1993 Washington conference, both in project implementation and at policy formulation and planning levels. Building on the substantive experience and presence of the UN organizations already in the field, more than 25 agencies, programmes and funds are now working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. With this expansion, the development initiative in the Palestinian territories is being harmonized with the global objectives outlined above.

All such efforts are coordinated under the umbrella of the Special Coordinator's Office, with the ultimate objective of integrating UN initiatives within the Palestinian Authority's own development plans. Care has been taken in developing coordinated aid structures which are intended to streamline the project planning and implementation process, reducing or eliminating replication of effort and waste of donor funds, and maximizing the benefit of the donor initiative to the people on the ground.

The United Nations' extensive experience in capacity development and its ability to catalyze donor funding are being utilized in this comprehensive initiative by the international community and Palestinians, in order to translate the peace process into visible, sustainable development at the individual, community and regional level.

C. Key Development Strategies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

'People are not passive recipients of assistance, but are proactive initiators of social and economic processes.'

Dr. Brenda G. McSweeney, Executive Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers

'Capacity development does not take place only through training and additional staff or the creation of new organizations, but requires an enabling environment to ensure that skilled people are used effectively, retained within organizations which need their skills, and motivated to perform their tasks.'

UNDP, Capacity Development: Lessons of Experience & Guiding Principles, 1995.

Sustainable development is 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'

World Commission on Environment and Development


Two overriding objectives characterize the work of United Nations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: capacity development and sustainable human development. These two themes reflect how the United Nations system is prioritizing its core human and financial resources, and the comparative advantage of the UN as a principal development partner for the Palestinians. By adopting the common vision of development emerging from the major UN conferences of recent years, United Nations organizations have strengthened the complementarity of their programmes. Each Agency, by drawing on its own special mandate and areas of expertise, plays a unique role in furthering both capacity development and sustainable human development.

i. Capacity Development

'Capacity is defined as the ability of individuals and organizations to perform functions effectively, efficiently and sustainably.' Comprehensive development of capacity – from the assessment stage and continuing through planning, implementation and follow-up – ensures the most effective use of funds and material assistance and increases the prospects for sustainability. The participation of both governmental institutions and the non-governmental sector in formulation strategies for capacity development is essential, because of the need for dialogue and consensus-building, and to arrive at a balance between public sector capacity and the capacity of the non-governmental sector. A participatory process will help to entrench national 'ownership' of, and commitment to, sustainable capacity development.

In general, development requires an effective public sector – a 'capable government' – which can formulate and implement coherent and consistent policies, create an enabling environment for private sector development, and deliver services to the population in ways that are responsive to the needs of the society. Responsiveness, accountability and transparency are key components of effective policy-making and service delivery institutions. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the United Nations is assisting the Palestinian Authority and other institutions to incorporate these three components into their operating philosophy, and to internalize the principles of the key global agreements which characterize the larger development context.

ii. Sustainable Human Development

At least 20 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip is living on a per capita annual income of less than US$500.58 With one of the world's highest birth rates and with limited natural and material resources, increased self-reliance and respect for the environment and resources must be integrated into any long-term plan for development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The UNDP/PAPP Human Development Profile is an important first step in assessing the Palestinian development context, and has identified several key problems which must be addressed if long-term development is to be achieved and 'emergency' relief rendered obsolete:

need for clarity concerning the respective roles of the public, private and NGO sectors within the development effort; need for increased capacity in the area of policy-planning and implementation, monitoring and follow-up; need to divert skills and capacity currently being exported to locally-based initiatives.

The promotion of sustainable development as an integral concept within the Palestinian context must be emphasized. This framework calls for ensuring the participation of and benefit to all sectors of society. To this end, long-term poverty alleviation work, active promotion of gender equity, and other programmes will bring a comprehensiveness to the development process by addressing the needs of the less empowered, and by activating the impoverished, women, and others to play an equal role in achieving long-term growth and greater prosperity for their community.

D. Sectoral Situation and Needs Assessments

Protecting and investing in the physical, mental and emotional development of all children is the foundation of a better future, the end and the means of development, the very foundation for economic development, social cohesion, and political stability.'

UNICEF, The State of the World's Children, 1995

i. Education

As children under 15 number 1.2 million out of a total population of 2.38 million, the education sector is a vitally important component in any future development plans. Education is the largest public service sector within the Palestinian Authority's area of responsibility, employing almost 22,000 people. Immediate priorities in this sector for the Palestinian Authority upon assumption of responsibility were the upgrading of rundown and inadequate physical infrastructure and a revitalization of human resources. Some 30 percent of UNRWA schools in Gaza were defined as overcrowded, i.e., an area per student of less than one square metre compared to the internationally accepted minimum of 1.5-1.75 square metres.

Twenty percent of schools in the West Bank were in rented premises not intended or suitable for classroom use, and the majority of schools in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip operated on double and sometimes triple shifts.

Comprehensive efforts to relieve the overcrowding, insufficient number of schools, and deteriorating premises are continuing, and will remain a high priority due to the demands of a rapidly-increasing and youthful population. However, an estimated 40 new schools per year are required simply to keep up with the natural increase. In addition, there is still a need for textbooks, and classroom, laboratory and playground equipment in the almost 1500 existing schools.

Capacity development at the classroom level is also urgently needed in order to revitalize an educational process which has suffered from low teacher morale and lack of institutional support. The framework for such efforts must be a comprehensive institutional development process targeting the educational system overall, its policy-making and implementation procedures at every level. Given the impact of education on long-term development, the sectoral priority is to support the Palestinian Authority's implementation of its National Programme of Action for Children, in which the formal, non-formal and early childhood education fields are targeted for improvement in quality, access and management. Achievement of these goals requires the following:

technical and financial assistance to the Ministries of Education and Higher Education to continue the enhancement of skills – at the policy-planning level and in the classroom – and improvements in equipment and infrastructure; advocacy and training aimed at raising awareness of discrimination based on gender or disability, in order to redress inequity in the system and facilitate greater participation by girls and to encourage education tailored for students with special needs; promotion of the concept of an integrated school/community approach to children's education and acquisition of life skills.

As in other sectors, simple provision of buildings or equipment alone is not enough. Infrastructural improvements must be coupled with the promotion of active learning in the classroom and increased awareness on the part of teachers, parents and policy-makers of the vital importance of children's formative years vis-à-vis their future participation in society.

ii. Employment Generation

In the years prior to the 1991 Gulf War, the West Bank and Gaza Strip experienced steady economic growth due to the huge demand for cheap labour inside Israel and high levels of remittances from Palestinians working in Gulf countries. However, with the Gulf War came a dramatic fall in remittances and the establishment of a permit system for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to work inside Israel. The number of Palestinians working in Israel fell from a pre-war estimated monthly average of 180,000 to 116,000 in 199265 and 83,000 in 1993, declining drastically due to tightened closures to an average of 22,250 in 1996.

In addition, some 16,000 Palestinians join the labour force each year, according to ILO estimates. To accommodate these new job seekers or even a part of the large number of unemployed/underemployed would require the creation of 30,000 to 40,000 new jobs each year. Due to the high growth rate (8 percent annually) in the labour force and the youthful nature of the population (almost 50 percent under 15 years of age), it is unlikely that the Palestinian economy will be able to absorb many of those presently unemployed, nor to accommodate the anticipated increases. What this means at the household level is that most Palestinian breadwinners must support large and extended families.

The employment problem in the West Bank and Gaza Strip requires a two-track approach, one which addresses immediate needs through the provision of short-term job opportunities, while at the same time formulating long-term strategies to expand employment opportunities. Currently, university graduates experience high levels of unemployment due to the concentration on humanities and social science rather than science and technology-related fields. Of those students who go on to higher education after matriculation, only three percent are enrolled in vocational training programmes.

Longer-term domestic opportunities must also be expanded to absorb those previously employed in Israel. At the same time, short-term employment is required in order to alleviate the economic and psychosocial effects of the change in circumstances. In order to address the long-term employment needs, there must be changes in the preparation of the labour force, as noted above, and encouragement of private enterprise and investment in other important sectors such as agriculture (which represents approximately one third of GDP). Coupled with these measures, as with all sectors, is the need to develop a transparent, streamlined legal and regulatory framework.

iii. Governance and Public Administration

Three years after the assumption of responsibility by the Palestinian Authority, major progress has been made in institution-building efforts in the area of public administra-tion at central and local levels. The first elected Legislative Council has marked its first year and a half in operation, and elections for municipal councils are to follow.

Much of the donor initiative has been focused on support for the initial start-up phase of the Palestinian assumption of responsibilities – capital expenditures and recurrent costs. This has been accompanied by institution-building efforts, assisting in the development process through technical assistance to those ministries and other institutions responsible for the delivery of public and social services. Initial support was aimed at facilitating the integration of civil servants from different backgrounds (the Israeli Civil Administration, PLO, NGO).

Technical assistance to the public sector – at planning, implementation, monitoring and accountability levels – is essential, in order to further the goals of good governance and public administration, and to ensure efficient and effective delivery of services at the central and local governmental and non-governmental tiers. The continuing challenge is to assist in the assumption of central responsibilities by the Palestinian Authority, while also supporting local and non-governmental levels. Local governance and non-governmental institutions have a long, productive history in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; what is needed now is to build on that experience and assist these institutions to adapt to the changing political, economic and development context.

At all levels, ensuring financial accountability and operational transparency of ministries, councils and organizations is key to continued international participation in the development process. Furthermore, good governance, a political environment of transparency, cooperation, and dialogue contributes greatly to the prospects of overall sustainable development.

Thus, together with the process of internal strengthening, support must be provided to the Palestinian Authority to specify the roles and responsibilities of the various ministries, to clarify the mandates of the different branches of government, and to establish lines of communication between all public governance sectors. Above all, however, it is important to strengthen the Palestinian sense of 'ownership' of the public sector and local governance structures.

iv. Health

Basic health indicators for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as noted earlier, compare relatively well with those of countries of a similar socio/economic development level. It should be noted, however, that in lacking a comprehensive population census to establish baseline data, which has not been carried out since 1967, all indicators must be taken as estimates. In 1993, the infant mortality rate was estimated at 40-45/1000, but the most recent estimates from the PCBS show a drop to 28/1000, with an average child (under 5) mortality rate of 36/1000. Average life expectancy is estimated at 71.75 years, which is higher than neighbouring Arab countries although lower than Israel (see box, p.8). The estimated growth rate of the population is 5.8 percent in the West Bank, 6.3 percent in the Gaza Strip; fertility rates are high at 6.7 percent.75 Major causes of child mortality are road and domestic accidents, including poisoning (20.9 percent); acute respiratory infections, including pneumonia (ARI), which account for 18.7 percent; congenital anomalies (11.8 percent); and diarrhoeal disease (approximately 10 percent). Infant mortality is caused primarily by congenital abnormalities (15.7 percent); ARI/pneumonia (14.2 percent); and prematurity (13.9 percent).

While access to essential services is relatively good compared with developing countries, with 84.1 percent of households having piped water supply, only 57 percent of rural communities have 24-hour electricity, and only 35 percent of all households are attached to piped sewage networks. Overcrowding is another important factor contributing to health problems such as skin and respiratory infections: almost 43 percent of all households have seven or more people per room.

Accessibility of health services is also good, with almost half the population (49.1 percent) living within 5 kms of a hospital and only 8.1 percent living further than 5 kms from a doctor. Based on the number of doctors registered with professional associations, the doctor/population ratio in the West Bank is 1/1050 and 1/550 in the Gaza Strip.82 The hospital bed/population ratio is 1/1100, with 2,376 beds in eight hospitals in the Gaza Strip and 17 in the West Bank. There are 384 PHC clinics in the West Bank and 70 in the Gaza Strip.

The epidemiological transition is still unfolding in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and diseases associated with more affluent societies such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular ailments coexist with forms of malnutrition such as protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and micronutrient deficiencies such as anaemia. An estimated 50 percent of refugee women of reproductive age are anaemic, together with 45.5 percent of children below three years of age. Although Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have never experienced widespread PEM, declining economic conditions in the recent past and the prolonged closures in 1996 in particular have resulted in the levels of moderate and severe stunting in children below 5 years of age rising to 7.45 percent, with incidence of wasting (an indicator of acute malnutrition) at 3.2 percent, and undernutrition at 4.5 percent.

Overall, however, Palestinians have through the past decades witnessed an improvement in health indicators, largely due to a few effective health programmes in the public health sector; an active NGO sector at the PHC level in particular; and the huge contribution by UNRWA, which has been providing comprehensive health care to refugees for almost 50 years. It is largely as a result of this work that there is not greater overall deprivation, since refugees comprise 64 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip and 27 percent in the West Bank. However, the successful establishment of such programmes has not been matched by the development of a modern health system, as evidenced in 1994 when the newly-created PA Ministry of Health inherited neglected PHC and inefficient hospital systems. Health institutions, buildings and medical equipment over the years of occupation had often received less than minimal maintenance and were unable to meet the demands of an increasing population.

This historic neglect continues to affect the overall efficiency and sustainability of the Palestinian health system. Insufficient primary health care services in the past contributed to many patients turning to hospitals for treatment which could be provided for lower cost at the PHC level. This greater demand for hospital services in turn led to the development of a relatively large number of hospitals, all with less than 100 beds, often in the same locale, each with its own ancillary services such as laboratories and x-rays. Such a situation continues to require duplicate investment and increased recurrent costs in technology and human resources and does not allow for organizational or economic rationalization.

The impact on the PA Ministry of Health has been to distort the allocation of resources, with only 20 to 30 percent of expenditures directed to PHC and public health, and the remainder to secondary and tertiary care. Such structural problems have been addressed by the Ministry since its inception; external aid has contributed to the expansion and improvement of PHC infrastructure in Gaza and the same upgrading process is now underway in the West Bank. Ongoing investments to expand and equip hospitals has, however, increased recurrent expenditures and will continue to do so in the future.

The decline in economic conditions has forced the Ministry in recent months to undertake measures to limit the rapidly growing public expenditures on health which are the result of: an expanding base of those covered by insurance (largely due to the increase in public sector workers and police); the large number of families on the social security net who receive virtually free health care; and increasing expenditures on drugs, disposables and laboratory and radiological supplies.

Reforming the health system; reviewing the existing body of health legislation; strengthening primary health care; and providing limited administrative and financial decentralization to key relevant institutions are priorities to which the PA Ministry of Health is already committed and the implementation of which will require assistance from the international community.

v. Infrastructure and Housing

Neglected infrastructure in every sector, which for years has been insufficient to meet growing demand, remains one of the most pressing challenges facing the Palestinian Authority. In the years leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Principles, 1970-92, a total of US$15 per capita was spent on infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, compared with US$1500 per capita in Israel and US$400 in Jordan. Consistent under-funding has resulted in decaying and inadequate systems overwhelmed by current demand. Modern roads planned with the needs of the local communities in mind; adequate and environmentally sound water and sanitation systems; efficient electricity and telecommunications capable of facilitating development and commercial expansion – all of these remain priority areas of work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In addition, housing supply lags far behind current demand, and remains largely still subject to restrictions in zoning, planning and building permits. Lack of government investment in this sector, and the absence of mechanisms for financing housing construction mean that homes were built almost completely on an individual basis, with completion often delayed in periods of economic decline. Despite obstacles, housing was for many years the primary target of private sector investment due to its relative security. However, land prices rose sharply in 1993-94 and while declining somewhat, remain prohibitively high due to limited availability, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

Electricity to 98 percent of households is supplied by the Israeli Electricity Company. However, over 130 villages in the West Bank still have either no electricity at all, or are supplied for only a few hours every day. Demand for electricity continues to increase, as the population grows and residential and industrial use expands. The supply has not increased in response to needs, with the result that private investors and donors have begun focusing attention on alternative methods of supplying the population.

The supply and management of water resources and waste water remain a key priority. In 1995, the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) assumed responsibility for the coordination of activities related to water and waste water management. However, due to the absence of any substantive development in the water and sewage sector previously, much remains to be done. Only 29 percent of the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are connected to a public sewage system, and raw sewage continues to be diverted into cess pits, posing an environmental hazard to the underground aquifers which are the main water resource. Long-term planning has begun and sewage treatment plants are being overhauled on an individual basis, but the process of rehabilitating the entire system is lengthy, given the immediate environmental and health hazards posed by the current conditions. In addition, insufficient facilities for solid waste disposal or irregular collection in many areas compounds the problem.

Transportation needs also remain unmet in certain areas. Over 40 percent of the existing road network requires urgent repairs, and the entire road system needs to be reworked in order to better facilitate growth, development and expansion of commerce in Palestinian communities. The Gaza Airport in Rafah has been completed, but is not as yet open for regular air traffic. Construction of the sea port remains under negotiation. Fully functioning air and seaports are a necessity if trade, commerce and tourism are to develop to their full potential.

Telecommunications are improving, but needs remain. The Palestinian Authority inherited 74,000 telephone lines upon its assumption of responsibility.91 Currently, the ratio of telephones to the general population stands at 1:46, compared with 1:15 in Jordan. This is a constraint on the development of commercial enterprises, exchange of information, and efficient governmental and non-governmental functioning, among other things. The telecommunications sector was recently privatized, with PalTel – the Palestinian Telecommunications Company – now responsible for provision of lines and services. The PA's agreement with PalTel calls for an expansion to 250,000 telephone lines by the year 2000, compared with the current 90,000 lines.

vi. Private Sector

Private sector investment is currently inhibited by fears of potential economic losses due to closures and the resultant lack of access to markets and materials. Expansion and encouragement of the private sector is crucial to achieving any long-term structural employment changes. There are fundamental issues which lie within the control of the Palestinian Authority. As noted in the preceding section, there is the ongoing need to develop a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework which is conducive to private sector investment. In addition, the PA should be supported to fulfil its commitment to dismantle import monopolies by year-end 1998. Continued support to the banking sector is also required, to ensure that the financial services needed for business investment and expansion are available and dependable. According to an IMF assessment, 'the level of development of the financial sector as a whole remains below that in other countries in the region.'95 The demand for capital by private sector investors remains low, according to the IMF, due to political and economic instability and to a number of 'institutional weaknesses' and the lack of a clearly established legal framework.96 There is a potentially huge demand for financial services for small enterprises, however, which is not addressed by the banking system; credit needs of farmers and small businesses or factories, for example, are not seen as a priority, although they form the majority of the private sector.

Traditionally, private sector investment has been concentrated in housing construction, which currently accounts for some 85 percent of private sector investment.97 However, agriculture is also an important economic activity, generating roughly one third of GDP and one quarter of all exports98 although largely centered around small, family-based farms. Major agricultural exports to local and regional markets include citrus fruits, olives and olive oil, strawberries, vegetables and the recent addition of cut flowers, mostly grown in the Gaza Strip.

While agricultural activity has been a primary source of income for many, and an important supplementary income source for even more, the sector has been unable to develop to its full economic potential due to the effects of border closures – most importantly, the lack of access to markets, and the threat of ever-decreasing access to water resources. Dependence on, and inappropriate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is also problematic, and more ecologically sound farming practices, dryland cultivation, and water/waste recycling are areas which should be explored. There is a need for further development of rainfed crops and multi-cropping, already in use to a certain extent. In addition, institutional support is badly needed, in the form of credit facilities, uniform legislation, and research and testing stations where pioneer crop-testing and new methodologies can be tried out, something individual farmers cannot afford to do.

The Palestinian Authority, recognizing that private sector activity must be stimulated if the economy of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is to become more stable and independent in the future, has highlighted the tourism sector as another area ripe for development and income-generation. The potential arises from the over one thousand historical and archaeological sites in the West Bank and Gaza Strip identified by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, including the historic cities of Bethlehem and Jericho, and the approaching millennium, which is expected to attract a huge influx of visitors to the Holy Land. While major development efforts are underway, particularly in Bethlehem, the sector requires additional physical infrastructure and improvement of services in order to capitalize on the opportunities offered and to counter the effects of the closure.

The establishment of export-oriented industrial zones, largely with investment from abroad, is another key objective of the Palestinian Authority. These projects are intended not only to provide employment, but also to move Palestinian industry higher up the value-added production scale away from merely subcontracting for Israeli firms to producing goods for direct local, regional and international export. Phase I of the Gaza Industrial Estate project is under construction, and the first tenants are expected to be on-site by year end 1997. On completion and full occupancy, the Gaza Industrial Estate should provide 17,000 to 20,000 jobs on-site, and indirect employment to another 30,000 Gazans through services and associated manufacturing opportunities. In the West Bank, discussions are currently underway ongoing on a second export-oriented industrial estate on a site near Jenin; and a feasibility study is being conducted for a local industrial estate to be constructed near Nablus.

vii. Rule of Law Sector

Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, increasing attention has been devoted to the strengthening of the legal system; the building of institutional capacity for the fair administration of justice; the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the enhancement of the rule of law. The most pressing problems currently facing the Palestinian Authority in this area are a legal infrastructure devastated by decades of occupation and developmental neglect and a confusing overlay of military and civil law systems; a lack of private and public sector regulatory frameworks; and the need to promote the protection of human rights, support the building of a democratic society, and foster donor confidence. A strong, effective and modern Palestinian legal system, a clear regulatory framework, and the maintenance of the rule of law are vital to the advancement of all other areas of the development effort.

By mid-1996, efforts to enhance the rule of law had not yet been firmly developed or institutionalized. There remained a lack of coordinated planning for human rights policy; a justice system which lacked the necessary capacity to ensure effective and fair administration of justice; a legal community, whose crucial activities were largely suppressed under occupation, now confronted with the challenge of a rapidly changing political situation; national institutions and human rights organizations suffering from a shortage of funds and materials and lacking the support and coordination to work to maximum effect. Development of legal and human rights institutions and policies, moreover, must still take into consideration the complex overlay of often contradictory British Mandate, Ottoman, Egyptian, Jordanian laws, Israeli military orders, and Palestinian texts, which do not reflect international standards or current realities but remain largely applicable.

The PA has identified a number of sectoral priorities, among them the urgent need to improve both basic operational and long-term capacity, and to support the reform of the legal system in accordance with international standards. The Palestinian Authority, United Nations agencies and programmes, and numerous international donors are working to develop appropriate regulatory frameworks together with PA Ministries, the Palestinian Legislative Council, municipal authorities and non-governmental organizations.

Other sectoral needs include promoting the independent administration of justice; enhancing the legal environment surrounding private sector investment, specifically land registration, building and property ownership, and planning and zoning regulations; and enhancing the public sector regulatory framework, specifically taxation and banking laws, labour laws and workers' rights, and environmental protection.

E. Programme Plans, By Agency:

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United Nations Department for Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS)

The UN DDSMS has been involved in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1995 when a comprehensive package of assistance to the Palestinian Authority was formulated in the area of public finance and business development.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In 1996, a DDSMS assessment mission prepared a detailed report on governance and public administration needs for submission to the Palestinian Authority and targeted the following areas for assistance: aid coordination; support for social safety nets; and human resource development.

In February 1997, a DDSMS project from the original package of assistance, which aimed at strengthening the PA's audit capability, received initial funding from UNDP-PAPP as a component in its governance and public administration programme.

1998-99 Programme Plans

DDSMS is awaiting funding on outstanding project proposals, and has prioritized three specific projects aimed at:

• strengthening the PA's financial reporting and performance evaluation capacity;

• enhancing the role of internal auditing as a management tool; and

• improving the system of tax administration.

Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

As a non-funding agency, ESCWA concentrates on the preparation of studies and project documents related to the rehabilitation of various sectors of the Palestinian economy; conducting training for capacity development in economic planning, evaluation and entrepreneurship; and providing advisory services to the Palestinian Authority.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

ESCWA activities in 1996-97 included a report on the economic and social repercussions of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian population.

1998-99 Programme Plans

ESCWA is proposing the drafting of a project document on the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and the provision of advisory services in the following sectors: agriculture; energy; environment; industry; international trade; population and social development; statistics; and water. ESCWA will also organize training workshops and seminars in cooperation with other United Nations specialized agencies and relevant Arab, regional and national organizations, to which Palestinian Authority representatives will be invited.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, FAO implemented three technical assistance programmes prior to 1993. FAO's involvement then expanded and, following joint FAO/ESCWA missions in 1993 and 1994, priorities in assistance to the agricultural sector were identified and programme plans developed.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In June 1996, FAO began implementing a UNDP/PAPP-funded project with the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at enhancing its institutional, managerial and technical capabilities in policy analysis and planning. A March 1997 joint FAO/World Bank Cooperative Programme mission visited the area, and further proposals were developed for natural resource management and rural access roads, market development, and agricultural support services and institutional strengthening.

1998-99 Programme Plans

In 1998-99, FAO will concentrate on the following technical assistance:


FAO will progress to full-scale implementation of the UNDP/PAPP-FAO capacity development initiative with the Ministry of Agriculture in the areas of agricultural policy analysis and planning, and the formulation, appraisal and implementation of agricultural development projects.

FAO is also proposing a sector-wide institutional strengthening of the support services available to Palestinian farmers, including: research and extension facilities which will emphasize horticultural development and integrated pest management; animal health and production services; and information systems for the agricultural sector to introduce networking, statistical and policy analysis, and project coordination components. Market research and development is also proposed: to increase information and access to markets; to improve the marketing infrastructure in Gaza; and to assist in the development of food health-related regulations and quality standards.

In the fishing sector, FAO will provide intensive training to Gazan fishermen in specific techniques required to increase swordfish catches.

Physical Infrastructure Improvements

FAO will implement projects aimed at increasing agricultural production through enhancing both the quantity of irrigation water available and the efficiency of water use. These projects will involve the rehabilitation of 70 deep wells, as well as numerous springs and related irrigation canals in the West Bank. The long-term objective is to improve conditions for rural communities through greater agricultural productive capacity. In the Gaza Strip, FAO will improve the Gaza citrus processing plant.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

Following the Oslo accords, IAEA was charged with identifying technical assistance projects which could be implemented in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of the comprehensive UN initiative to support the peace process. Accordingly, IAEA formulated a human resource development project for the application of nuclear science and technology in the relevant sectors. IAEA has now approved the technical cooperation programme 'Building up Science and Technology Infrastructure,' with the objective of setting up a laboratory at Bethlehem University to study irradiation effects on optical fibre sensors and to raise the level of training and research in the field.

1998-99 Programme Plans

IAEA will continue with its ongoing technical cooperation programme, described above.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

ICAO's first involvement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was a field mission in 1995 to assess the needs of the Palestinian Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA). Following on from this mission, ICAO formulated proposals for a technical cooperation programme to assist in the establishment of the PCAA; the preparation of a master civil aviation plan; and training of personnel. As yet, the programme has not been implemented due to lack of funding.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

ICAO identified as top programme priorities in 1997 the drafting of a civil aviation law and civil aviation-related regulations; procurement of aerodrome ground equipment; and assistance in decision-making regarding the construction of a heliport in Jericho. ICAO's proposal 'Preparation of a Civil Aviation Master Plan' was included in the Palestinian Authority's Public Investment Programme for 1997.

1998-99 Programme Plans

ICAO is awaiting clarification of the status and plans of the PCAA in order to draft appropriate project proposals for a civil aviation technical assistance programme.

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International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

IFAD designed and financed the ongoing Gaza Strip and Jericho Relief and Development Programme, under the responsibility of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), an NGO. The programme was designed to address the immediate needs of small farmers and fishermen, women and landless people in the rural areas of Jericho and the Gaza Strip. Programme components include conservation and improving the utilization of irrigation water; rehabilitation of citrus and olive plantations; the repair and maintenance of existing small-scale irrigation systems; and fisheries development and promotion of income-generating activities. The programme also provide funds for institutional support and training.

1998-99 Programme Plans

IFAD has identified outstanding needs in the Ramallah and Nablus areas, covering approximately 146 villages and a population of 380,000 inhabitants. In agreement with the Palestinian Authority, priority will be given to land reclamation, agricultural roads and the rehabilitation of wells and springs. Assistance will be provided in the context of an IFAD area-based development project to benefit small farmers, the Participatory Natural Resource Management Project, by means of a projected IFAD loan of US$10 million.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

The ILO technical cooperation programme to the Palestinian Authority and to workers' and employers' organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was formulated through strategic initiatives financed by ILO's regular budget and from donors' financial contributions. ILO, and its Turin International Training Centre, have been executing technical cooperation projects in the fields of: institution-building and labour administration; vocational training and rehabilitation; social and labour statistics; employment generation; workers' and employers' issues; small enterprise development; and human resource development. Since 1994, ILO project expenditures have totaled US$11.4 million.

ILO provided capacity development assistance to the Ministry of Labour in the areas of labour inspection, employment services, safety and health and vocational training, and technical advisory services with respect to labour legislation. The Palestinian Employment Programme, an ILO-executed project launched in 1997, is designed to strengthen the Ministry of Labour's capacity in policy formulation on employment generation and labour market issues. Also with ILO's assistance, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has finalized the design of a long-term programme for its Labour Statistics Department and has conducted three rounds of a labour force survey. ILO has also assisted the Ministry of Social Affairs in supporting the socio/economic reintegration of disadvantaged groups, including ex-detainees and the disabled.

ILO is currently providing technical assistance to the Contractors' Union in Gaza to strengthen the managerial capacity of its affiliated members through a comprehensive training programme. In addition, already approved projects to be launched in mid-1997, include the establishment and development of small enterprises in collaboration with local Chambers of Commerce, and capacity development of trade unions in the area of vocational training programmes and policies.

In addition, assistance has been provided to employers' and workers' organizations in the development of infrastructure; training staff; and formulating policies and programmes. The ILO's Turin International Training Centre is currently implementing a training programme of in-country and overseas courses specifically designed for Palestinian Authority officials as well as for workers' and employers' representatives. Preparatory work has been completed on a comprehensive programme of institutional and human resource development for the Palestinian public administration sector. Another recently-launched educational initiative supports the Ministry of Higher Education in the development of three technical colleges.

1998-99 Programme Plans

In 1998-99 ILO's programme of assistance to the Palestinian people will include: support to democracy and workers' rights; employment promotion; poverty alleviation; and occupational health and safety.

Employment Generation and Poverty Alleviation

Technical assistance and resource mobilization will focus on strengthening the institutional capacity of the Palestinian Authority and workers' and employers' organizations, to develop more effective means of creating and sustaining employment opportunities. Priorities will be training and institution-building in labour market information systems; labour statistics; employment services; employment and human resource policies; and private sector development.

ILO will continue to assist the Palestinian Authority in the design of comprehensive vocational training policies and related institution-building, to promote more effective utilization of human and physical resources and enhance capacity to take advantage of local and regional labour market needs. ILO will also address the need to improve social security programmes for working people.

ILO will continue to provide technical assistance and advisory services for the development of Palestinian institutions involved in promoting private sector growth. In addition to implementing successive phases of ongoing projects, ILO is proposing the establishment of a Small Business Council to define and oversee overall strategy for the promotion of the small business sector.

Labour Policies and Institutions

ILO will also target the eradication of child labour; job creation in small and medium-sized enterprises; the development of legal and institutional frameworks to promote equality in job opportunities and working conditions for women and disadvantaged groups; and the development of occupational health and safety policies and institutions. Specific proposals covering the sector's most urgent needs have been incorporated into the Palestinian Public Investment Programme, including extensions of ongoing projects related to the development of the Ministry of Labour, the PCBS – specifically the Labour Statistics Department, and the National Centre for Public Administration; and the socio/economic reintegration of ex-detainees.

ILO will continue to assist employers' and workers' organizations in consolidating their role within the social and economic development process. Particular attention will be given to further improvements in the institutional framework; expertise in technical issues; and the establishment of programmes and activities to enable employers' and workers' organizations to effectively participate in tripartism.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Following a 1995 needs assessment, IMO formulated proposals for technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority, for which funding remains outstanding.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

Since March 1996, IMO has been executing a regional project financed by the European Commission's LIFE Programme for the development of port state control capability in the Mediterranean. The Palestinian Authority is one of the project's 11 participants and its involvement in this regional initiative has resulted in a number of offers of technical assistance and training from other states in the Mediterranean.

1998-99 Programme Plans

IMO remains committed to the implementation of the proposals formulated following its 1995 needs assessment, which include:

• The establishment of an independent maritime administration within the Ministry of Transport in order to meet the needs of the proposed sea port and resulting shipping services;

• The establishment of a maritime training programme to respond to the future need for marine officers and engineers; and for basic skills in shipping, fisheries, port marine personnel, dock working, and coastal policing.

International Trade Centre (ITC)

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ITC's participation prior to 1996 involved the fielding of technical experts on needs assessment missions, and the formulation of project proposals to address those needs.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In May 1996, ITC began implementing a technical cooperation project, Export Development and Promotion of High-Value Floricultural Products. The project assists agricultural cooperatives, growers and marketing enterprises in the development, diversification and export of high-value, non-traditional floricultural products. Complementary objectives of the project are to increase the role of Palestinian women in economic development through their direct involvement in agricultural production and export trade, and to create associations for export marketing and extension services, as well as generating employment.

ITC also formulated two project ideas which were submitted at the March 1997 meeting of the Regional Bureau for Arab States in Geneva, focusing on enhancing the role of women in trade development, and training in purchasing and supply management.

1998-99 Programme Plans

Pending available funding, ITC will implement three major project proposals: preparatory assistance in the export marketing of horticultural production; assistance in the establishment of industrial zones; and trade development and promotion.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

Following ITU field missions in 1994 and 1995, a plan of action for long-term technical assistance was formulated, including the following activities: field missions to assess needs in various areas of the telecommunications field; the secondment of senior technical experts to the Palestinian Authority; the preparation of a Sectoral Telecommunications Study; technical study for microwave and optical fibre transmission; training workshops and scholarships; and the preparation of two project documents for a long-term (1996-2010) telecommunication master plan and for the establishment of a telecommunications training centre.

1998-99 Programme Plans

Further technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority in developing the telecommunications sector is anticipated; ITU technical assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis within the overall long-term technical assistance outlines previously drawn up.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD has been involved in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1985, largely through the provision of in-depth economic monitoring and analysis. Following a comprehensive assessment of the prospects for sustained development of the Palestinian economy completed in 1993, UNCTAD developed its Programme of Technical Cooperation Activities in Support of Palestinian Trade, Finance and Related Services, which was subsequently approved by the Palestinian Authority. Private sector development and institution-building were the two main programme areas identified, and a series of advisory missions were fielded covering ten project areas described below.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

UNCTAD carried out two comprehensive research studies in close consultation with the Palestinian Authority: 'Prospects for Sustained Development of the Palestinian Economy – Strategies and Policies for Reconstruction and Development'; and 'Private Investment in the Palestinian Territory – Recent Trends and Immediate Prospects'.

A programming and advisory services mission was fielded in 1996 in order to advise Palestinian Authority institutions in the area of trade policy. Organized within the context of UNCTAD/UNDP's Regional Programme for Arab States Trade Integration, two workshops were also held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively, in March 1997, focusing on the emerging international trade system and its implications for the Palestinian economy. Follow-up activities for both the advisory mission and the above workshops were developed in close cooperation with the PA and relevant organizations of the United Nations system, and project profiles were formulated in a number of areas. Preparatory work was also completed for the implementation of a UNDP-funded project to prepare a feasibility study for the Nablus industrial estate/export processing zone.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNCTAD has proposed the following projects within the two main areas of emphasis of its Programme of Cooperation; these projects are ready for immediate implementation pending availability of funding:

Private Sector Development

• The establishment of industrial estate/export processing zones, including the legal and regulatory framework required. As noted above, the preparatory work has been completed and project activities commenced in June 1997; Assistance in the procurement of strategic consumer food commodities, through specialized seminars and advisory services facilitating the establishment of a procurement mechanism and start-up operations; Facilitating increased trade and efficiency through development of Palestinian Trade Points, focusing on marketing strategies; trade information services; increased networking and training of staff and service providers; and provision of and training in Trade Analysis and Information System (TRAINS);

• Assessment and prospects for reorientation of the insurance sector, including advisory services on policy formulation to strengthen domestic insurance markets and access to international markets; assistance in drafting legislative and regulatory frameworks; and capacity development at technical and management levels.


• Assistance in the establishment, operation and administration of the Gaza commercial sea port, including support for the formulation of a regulatory framework;

• Strengthening technical and operational capacities in customs administration, particularly trade facilitation measures;

• Establishment of a comprehensive statistical series on Palestinian international trade;

• Follow-up activities to the 1997 workshops held within the context of the UNCTAD/UNDP Regional Programme for Arab States Trade Integration and UNCTAD's own Programme of Technical Cooperation; Assistance in human resource development (Train for Trade); and Expansion of trade in goods and services between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Jordan, Egypt and other regional trading partners.

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United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNDCP focuses on a multi-sectoral approach to coordinate and integrate drug control policies into broader developmental policies. In 1995, in close collaboration with the Palestinian Authority, UNDCP prepared its Multi-sectoral Drug Control Assistance to the Palestinian Authority project, to provide technical assistance in establishing an institutional framework for drug control; to reduce the illicit supply of narcotics through improved detection, interdiction, and prosecution capacities; and to prevent and reduce drug abuse through improved awareness, treatment and rehabilitation.

1998-99 Programme Plans

Pending availability of funding, UNDCP proposes to implement the above-described technical cooperation programme.

United Nations Development Programme / Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP)

UNDP's Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) was initiated in 1980, implementing small technical assistance projects and training programmes in health and education. The UNDP/PAPP now comprises some 120 local and international staff, with specialized technical expertise and a considerable implementation capacity.

From 1980 to 1993, UNDP/PAPP delivered approximately US$110 million in assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1994, assistance totaled US$24 million; this increased to US$37 million in 1995, and US$50 million in 1996, thus ranking UNDP/PAPP as one of the three largest implementers of donor-funded projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


UNDP utilizes Palestinian expertise and locally available resources as much as possible. This has proven extremely successful, both in terms of effectiveness and scale of delivery capacity. In addition, UNDP/PAPP utilizes joint implementation mechanisms for the majority of its activities, whereby UNDP/PAPP's technical and managerial expertise is combined with the existing capacity and local knowledge within Palestinian Authority ministries and local governmental partners. The progressive shifting of technical and managerial responsibilities from UNDP/PAPP to its PA counterparts in implementation is a key objective of this approach. Where local expertise does not exist, or where it needs to be enhanced, UNDP/PAPP calls upon the expertise of specialized UN agencies and other institutions.

A key component in the UNDP/PAPP's strategy is to use its limited core financial resources and its in-house sources of technical and management expertise to attract supplemental funding. UNDP/PAPP's programmes in agricultural development, local rural development and public administration are all examples of programmes where UNDP/PAPP resources served as the initial start-up investment, and the programmes have since attracted substantial donor contributions for maintenance and further development.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

While the majority of the US$50 million implemented in 1996 went to infrastructure development, UNDP/PAPP also concentrated on expanding its advocacy efforts in promoting the principal themes of sustainable human development: poverty eradication; sustainable livelihoods; gender in development; and environmental management. UNDP/PAPP also launched major activities aimed at enhancing capacity in governance and public administration at local, central and non-governmental levels, building on the existing local expertise.

Responding to the severe economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNDP/PAPP formulated employment generation plans which ultimately provided some 26,000 temporary jobs. The employment generation programme was also introduced in the West Bank for the first time. In addition, UNDP/PAPP supported skills enhancement at technical, managerial and implementation levels to counterpart institutions of the Palestinian Authority working on long-term employment generation.

Under its Infrastructure Development Programme, UNDP/PAPP constructed domestic water systems for 20 rural villages in the West Bank, supplying water to over 100,000 residents; and rehabilitated existing water networks and built new ground storage reservoirs in Hebron and Tulkarem. In the Gaza Strip, UNDP/PAPP upgraded the water distribution system for Khan Younis and completed a sewage system for an area adjacent to the Jabalia Refugee Camp serving some 30,000 refugees.

UNDP/PAPP also assisted in institutional development of the Palestinian Water Authority and municipal water departments. Infrastructure development in the education sector included the renovation of 17 West Bank schools, and construction of a school/sports complex in Jericho, and two agricultural training centres in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip and al-'Arroub, near Hebron. In the health sector, UNDP/PAPP built operating facilities and intensive care units at al-Ittihad Hospital in Nablus, a service tower and equipment room in Beit Jala Hospital, and emergency and intensive care facilities in Tulkarem Hospital. Other works in infrastructure included the completion of a 256-unit apartment complex for families of the Palestinian Police Force in Gaza. In total, UNDP/PAPP delivered over US$37 million through its Infrastructure Development Programme in 1996.

Activities related to the promotion of Sustainable Human Development included the completion in April 1997 of a human development profile which identified key development needs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNDP/PAPP also expanded its gender in development project on the basis of recommendations endorsed by the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women: gender-in-development departments were established within selected PA ministries, and an initiative was developed to assist the PCBS in producing statistics disaggregated by gender.

UNDP/PAPP integrated its PAT (Public Administration Training) Programme and TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals) Programme into the PA's National Centre for Public Administration. Some 1500 Palestinian civil servants participated in over 70 PAT Programme training courses in 1996 alone, while 44 expatriate Palestinian consultants were fielded to 28 PA institutions. In addition, the UNDP/PAPP Governance and Public Administration Support Programme was initiated with technical support from the UNDP/PAPP Management Development and Governance Division.

Within private sector development, UNDP/PAPP implemented several large-scale programmes in agricultural policy analysis and planning, and institutional support to the agricultural sector, several in cooperation with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development. The joint UNDP/UNCDF (UN Capital Development Fund) Local Rural Development Programme was also reformulated in 1996, as an integrated programme within the Ministry of Local Government. UNDP/PAPP, together with the World Tourism Organization (WTO), launched the initial phase of a tourism development programme, including the Bethlehem 2000 initiative.

Under the umbrella of UNDP/PAPP, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been greatly expanded, with a total of 38 UNVs now in the field, up from two when the programme began in December 1994. The UNV programme, created in 1970, serves as an operational partner in international development under the administration of UNDP. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNVs are engaging in a specific range of technical capacity-building activities with various Palestinian ministries at the policy and strategy formulation, prioritization of needs and project identification and funding levels; introducing a modality for the technical development of volunteerism in the community through a youth programme involving the Ministry of Youth and Sport and seven community centres and a youth resource centre in the Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip in particular, UNV has focused on a community-based participatory approach.

Recognizing the availability of qualified Palestinians in the country, a national UNV modality was introduced which created teams of international and national UNVs working together to support Palestinian institutions. The seven youth centres in the Gaza Strip have benefited from this mixed-team approach.

Two additional community-based projects are being launched in 1997 in the Gaza Strip, one aimed at expanding educational opportunities for the hearing-impaired, and another addressing women's health issues through a mobile team approach.

With funding channeled through a special window of the UNV's Special Voluntary Fund, the White Helmets Initiative was launched in April 1996 when the first team of Argentine urban planning experts arrived to work with the municipality of Gaza. Phase II of this project started in February 1997 with the arrival of three additional experts to follow up on development of the master plan for the city of Gaza using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and a second team of sports trainers to support the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the provision of football and volleyball training at youth centres; coaching the Palestinian national teams in preparation for the Arab Olympics; and training 200 Palestinian sports coaches.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNDP/PAPP activities for 1998-99 will be distributed between a number of key programmes, all of which will continue to incorporate sustainability as a basic principle and capacity development as the key approach. UNDP/PAPP will continue to work jointly with the Palestinian Authority, PECDAR and local governance and non-governmental institutions.

Infrastructure Development Programme

UNDP/PAPP will continue to support the water, sanitation, education, health and general municipal infrastructure sectors through projects combining technical assistance and training with capital assistance.


UNDP/PAPP will directly target rural areas lacking domestic water and waste-water systems, together with existing water networks, ground storage reservoirs, and sewage systems which are in poor condition. All works are to be carried out in close cooperation with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and municipal water departments. Activities will also be initiated which follow on from the recently completed master plan for development of an integrated sewage system in the central West Bank. UNDP/PAPP will continue to provide technical support to the PWA, particularly in the its preparation of the Strategic Plan and Priority Investment Programme for the Water Sector.

UNDP/PAPP will continue to enhance management capacity in water supply institutions, particularly municipal water departments, through its ongoing technical assistance programme. With further funding, assistance will be extended to additional municipalities.

Increasing public awareness of water conservation issues is an important component in UNDP/PAPP's support of water resource management. Therefore, UNDP/PAPP will be continuing its Water Awareness Campaign, which is now being implemented in cooperation with the PWA and a network of Palestinian institutions and ministries.

Projects will include the rehabilitation of existing water supply and distribution systems, and the construction of new systems and training of local council technical staff on operation and maintenance issues. In urban areas, phase IV and V of the Khan Younis water supply system in the Gaza Strip will be implemented. The first phase of the Jericho water supply and distribution system rehabilitation project will begin; donors have already pledged their support for the second and third phases. In the city of Hebron, UNDP/PAPP will launch the second phase of a water project in which a 'tele-control' system for operation of the water distribution network will be established. Preparation of a water master plan for Hebron is scheduled to begin at year-end 1997 and to conclude in mid-1998. Other water projects are now being prepared for implementation in Deir al-Balah and the eastern villages of the Gaza Strip, and in the northern West Bank cities of Nablus, Qalqilia and Jenin.

Environmental Health

In 1998-99, UNDP/PAPP will extend its support to improving sanitation in the city of Hebron through expansion of the sewage collection and disposal system, and the preparation of detailed designs for a sewage treatment facility and re-use system. In addition, upon completion of the sewage master plan for the central West Bank region, which includes two main cities and over 30 villages, UNDP/PAPP will provide support for the transformation of the regional water utility into a joint water and waste-water utility.

Construction of the first sewage system for Taffouh village in the West Bank is scheduled to start in 1998, a project which will also be used to test and determine the most appropriate sewage collection and treatment technology for Palestinian rural areas. System designs are in the final stages of preparation by UNDP/PAPP. In addition, UNDP/PAPP will initiate a technical assistance project which will support the Gaza municipality in its operation and maintenance of its central sewage treatment facility.

Education and Youth Facilities

In 1998-99, UNDP/PAPP will offer continued support for the rehabilitation and expansion of a number of centres in the Gaza Strip for youth, women, and the disabled. Pending further funding, support will be given to additional youth centres in the West Bank, including al-Fara' Centre, previously an Israeli military detention centre, which is to become a multi-purpose youth facility. In addition, the construction of a comprehensive girls' school in Hebron is to start in mid-1997 and is scheduled for completion by year-end 1998.

Health Facilities

Infrastructure development projects in the health sector will include UNDP/PAPP's launching of phase II and III of the Tulkarem Hospital construction project.

Municipal Infrastructure

UNDP/PAPP will implement a sizeable assistance programme for various municipalities in the Gaza Strip, including the construction of public markets, municipal buildings and community centres, and capacity development in municipal planning and technical departments. Rehabilitation of the retail vegetable market in the city of Hebron will begin in mid-1997 and continue through 1998.

As part of a series of projects aimed at the rehabilitation and renovation of tourist areas in the Bethlehem district and as an employment generation initiative which began in 1997, UNDP/PAPP will continue to upgrade and beautify the Old City of Bethlehem and other tourist areas in the new city through 1998 and 1999. The programme is to assist the city to prepare for 'Bethlehem 2000', described below.

Governance and Public Administration Support Programme

Support to governance and public administration institutions – facilitating a transparent, open and participatory political structure – is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable capacity development overall. UNDP/PAPP will thus continue to channel assistance through its Governance and Public Administration Support Programme, a US$13 million initiative which targets four central Palestinian Authority institutions:

• the Cabinet Secretariat Office, which facilitates inter-ministerial coordination and cross-sectoral dialogue on issues such as policy formulation;

• the General Personnel Council, which administers all personnel and human resource management policies related to the 42,700 PA civil servants;

• the General Control Institution, which conducts financial and managerial audits of all public sector institutions utilizing public funding;

• MOPIC's National Centre for Public Administration, which oversees a large- scale training programme for civil servants in areas of public sector management and administration.

UNDP/PAPP will continue its support to the Ministry of Local Governance and local authorities through the Local Rural Development Programme (LRDP), which is an experiment in decentralized planning and financing for rural development aimed at alleviating poverty in rural areas of the West Bank and building local governance capacities. LRDP is a four-year, US$25 million partnership programme between the PA, UNDP/PAPP, UNCDF and the donor community, with four main objectives:

• to alleviate poverty in rural areas of the West Bank by improving the quality and quantity of local basic infrastructure and services, promoting local economic development, and managing natural resources;

• to provide a mechanism for the devolution of resources to local government, such as small municipalities, village councils and village development committees, to finance their own local development plans;

• to institutionalize the use of participatory planning procedures in the preparation of local development plans;

• to build local governance capacity in planning and managing development projects, and promoting the role of micro-region planning committees and joint service councils.

Private Sector Development

Agricultural Development

UNDP/PAPP will continue with its large-scale Agricultural Development Programme, through the design and implementation of a series of projects combining technical assistance and capital investment components. This programme, developed in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, is intended to assist both individual farmers and national institutions and includes: institutional support to the Ministry of Agriculture in agricultural policy-making and sectoral planning, together with FAO; revitalization of adaptive research and extension capacities; a brucellosis control programme; a pesticide control programme; farmland reclamation and development; rangeland management; and water harvesting and management.

Tourism Development

UNDP/PAPP will continue to support the tourism sector, with particular emphasis on the upcoming Bethlehem 2000 celebrations. Working in close coordination with the Steering Committee of the International Committee for the Bethlehem 2000 Celebrations and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, UNDP/PAPP activities will provide assistance in: capacity development of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, together with the World Tourism Organization; support to the institutional structure for the Bethlehem 2000 celebrations; development and implementation of a comprehensive marketing campaign; development and implementation of a tourism awareness campaign; restoration of archaeological and historical sites; support to tourism business development.

Industrial Development

In 1998-99, UNDP/PAPP will continue to assist the Palestinian Industrial Estates Programme through support to the Nablus Industrial Estate. Following on from the feasibility study carried out with UNCTAD, UNDP/PAPP will participate in the implementation of the off-site infrastructure.

UNDP/PAPP will also support two critical sectors of the Palestinian economy, the garment industry and the agro-industrial sector, through a combination of technical assistance and capital investment.

Local Economic Development Within the framework of the LRDP, UNDP/PAPP will support local economic development with the combined support of UNCDF and the UNDP Micro-Start Programme, through the design and implementation of a micro-financing programme aimed at supporting the rural credit market and promoting micro-business development.

Promotion of Sustainable Human Development Principles

UNDP/PAPP will continue to expand its advocacy role in promoting principles of sustainable human development and central components such as poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, gender awareness and environmental management.

Human Development Profile Following on from the publication of the first Palestinian Human Development Profile in mid-1997, UNDP/PAPP will continue to support the institutionalization of Profile activities in coordination with Bir Zeit University, in order to issue a full-scale Human Development Report, for which further funding is required.

Gender in Development

UNDP/PAPP will continue to promote the role of women in Palestinian society, through assisting Women's Departments in PA ministries to increase their capacity to advocate for more gender-sensitive planning and gender equity, and to follow up on the implementation of the Platform for Action which resulted from the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. UNDP/PAPP will expand its skills-training project with rural women and will also continue to support the implementation of UNIFEM and UNFPA activities.

Poverty Eradication

UNDP/PAPP, together with MOPIC, will continue to develop a Poverty Eradication Action Plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which will be implemented by the National Commission for Poverty Eradication. The Action Plan is scheduled to be completed in early 1998 and its implementation will require further funding.

Biodiversity and Energy Conservation

Support from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) will continue with programmes in: energy efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas reductions; biodiversity strategy and action plan formulation; conservation of wetland and coastal ecosystems; and conservation and sustainable use of dryland agro-biodiversity. At the institutional level, UNDP/PAPP will support capacity development of the newly-established Palestinian Environment Authority in the field of environmental management.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

UNV will continue with capacity development initiatives within PA ministries; will expand and develop its youth programme; extend the provision of GIS mapping to other municipalities; continue implementing its Equal Education for the hearing-impaired through the only NGO in Gaza providing services to the deaf community; continue implementing its Women's Community Health mobile team project; and technically assist in a brucellosis control and eradication programme being implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, UNEP developed two project proposals for capacity development in environmental law and environmental economics. The project on environmental law will assist the PA to develop its human resource capacity in environmental law, policy and administration. The project on environmental economics focuses on training in environmental impact assessment. In addition, UNEP has been active in advocating the inclusion of an environmental perspective in the development programmes of other United Nations agencies.

1998-99 Programme Plans

Pending availability of funding, UNEP proposes to implement the projects described above.

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United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

UNFPA has been providing assistance to the Palestinian people since 1986, largely on a project-by-project basis, working closely in various capacity development initiatives with UNDP, UNRWA, WHO and local NGOs. UNFPA's assistance increased considerably in 1992, when implementation began on two large-scale projects aimed at improving the quality of pre- and postnatal care and integrating family planning within existing maternal and child health programmes, with total expenditures of US$550,000. These projects concluded successfully in 1995.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In 1996, the first UNFPA Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP 1996-99) was formulated and approved for the total amount of US$7.2 million, of which US$5.2 million is from UNFPA's regular budget. In launching its PAPP, UNFPA adopted a four-track strategy which includes: a) capacity development of Palestinian institutions through training local staff and provision of technical assistance; b) concentrating assistance on poor, densely populated and underserved areas; c) promoting cooperation between Palestinian Authority institutions and NGOs; and d) ensuring the complementarity with activities of other United Nations institutions and relevant donors.

Within the framework of this programme, implementation of four projects began and is currently ongoing. Another six projects were formulated, with implementation scheduled to begin in mid-1997. The projects initiated in this period are as follows:

• Assistance in the Palestinian Authority's implementation of a comprehensive population and housing census to make data available on the size, characteristics and distribution of the population. This will be the first such census carried out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967;

• Establishment of a women's centre for health care, social assistance, legal counseling and community education in Bureij Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip;

• In cooperation with WHO, capacity development aimed at strengthening infrastructure and technical and managerial capabilities within the Women's Health and Development Department of the PA Ministry of Health;

• Enhancement of rural health/family planning community-based outreach services and information, education and communication (IEC) in the Jenin district, among the most underserved areas of the West Bank.

1998-99 Programme Plans

During this period, UNFPA will continue to support the ongoing activities described above and will implement the projects recently formulated under the PAPP. Such activities fall within three primary areas of assistance:

Reproductive Health

• Strengthening infrastructure and managerial capacity of the Women's Health and Development Department of the Ministry of Health; Integrating reproductive health, including family planning services, into the primary health care level, and making family planning a component in secondary and tertiary level health care;

• Supporting the development of population IEC strategies focusing on reproductive health;

• Conducting a maternal and child health survey; preparing a reproductive health module; and undertaking in-depth analysis of latest survey data.

• Replicating the Bureij women's health centre model in Jabalia Refugee Camp, also in the Gaza Strip, in response to increasing community demand. Population and Development Strategies

• Strengthening the institutions and technical capacity of the PCBS to carry out the population and housing census;

• Training in population and vital statistics with emphasis on gender statistics. Advocacy

• Strengthening managerial, administrative and operational capacities of women's NGOs;

• Integration of population education in school curricula in basic level education, teacher-training and literacy programmes;

• Awareness-creation activities for policy-makers and planners to incorporate women's concerns, including reproductive health issues, into development plans.

United Nations High Commissioner / Centre for Human Rights (UNHC/CHR)

The United Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights (UNHC/CHR) has been active in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since 1994, when a training programme on human rights and law enforcement for Palestinian police trainers and commanders was conducted. Subsequently, UNHC/CHR fielded a needs assessment mission to identify possible areas of assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and formulated a comprehensive technical cooperation programme in the area of human rights.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In 1996 UNHC/CHR signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority which provided for a two-year comprehensive technical cooperation programme in the field of human rights in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. As part of the programme, UNHC/CHR established an office in Gaza City in November 1996, to implement programme activities in cooperation with Palestinian counterparts.

The programme focuses on the following main areas: a) establishment of a legal framework consistent with human rights; b) development of an official policy on human rights; c) strengthening of national structures for the protection and promotion of human rights, including the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, concerned ministerial departments, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights (PICCR), and non-governmental organizations.

In particular, during 1996 and 1997 UNHC/CHR provided:

• Technical assistance and advisory services in the field of prison legislation and judicial organization and structures;

• Documentation, equipment, training on legal drafting techniques and advisory services to the Legislation and Legal Opinion Office of the Ministry of Justice;

• Assistance in the development of a national plan of action for human rights;

• Fellowships for MOPIC staff to participate in a study programme on the international system for the protection of human rights;

• Support to the office of the Presidential Advisor on Human Rights in order to strengthen its policy advice and research capacity;

• Training materials and curricula on human rights and law enforcement to the Palestinian police, and human rights training for police trainers;

• Support to PICCR to enhance its work in the area of legislative review and analysis, to strengthen its field capacity and to increase accessibility to and knowledge of PICCR within the community;

• Assistance to local human rights NGOs in the areas of law reform and women's rights, with a view to supporting legal research to identify areas where the development of legislation to promote women's rights and equal opportunities is needed; provision of direct legal services to Palestinian women and women's groups; public information campaigns to promote understanding of laws and rights among women and encourage their participation in the policy and legal development processes;

• Human rights materials and information to PA departments, police, and NGOs.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNHC/CHR will continue implementation of the programme as agreed with the Palestinian Authority, with particular focus on the following areas:

• Assistance to penal institutions, through the development of a curriculum and provision of materials and training for prison administrators and guards, and the drafting of prison regulations;

• Development of internal guidelines for the Palestinian police consistent with human rights standards, including the formulation of police standing orders, and training of police commanders;

• Fellowships for police and prison officials for advanced training on human rights;

• Technical assistance in the administration of justice, through training and workshops for judges, prosecutors and lawyers;

• Finalization and implementation of a national plan of action for human rights in cooperation with Palestinian Ministries and government departments, the

• Legislative Council, the judiciary, PICCR and civil society groups;

• Continued technical assistance and advisory services to the Ministry of Justice and the Legislative Council on drafting of legislation related to human rights;

• Continued support to PICCR and other human rights NGOs.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF's programme of assistance to Palestinian children and women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1980, and expanded in 1988 to provide emergency rehabilitation services during the Intifada. In 1991 the programme expanded again, focusing on four main areas of need: primary health care; primary education, early childhood development; and youth activities. Until 1995, UNICEF worked closely with other UN organizations such as UNRWA, WHO and UNDP, the extensive network of Palestinian and international NGOs, and local universities, charitable societies and community groups, to strengthen local capacity; promote cooperation and standardization among service providers; and help empower communities.

Since 1993, UNICEF has broadened the scope of its cooperation from short-term assistance to longer-term institution-building. Ongoing pilot activities in health and education were enlarged, and the major emphasis of the programme shifted to the development of an effective working relationship with the Palestinian Authority and capacity development of its ministries and institutions, in addition to continued cooperation with UN agencies and NGOs.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

The UNICEF Programme of Cooperation for Children and Women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip delivered US$4.6 million in technical supply and cash assistance in 1996. The programme's main focus was on planning and capacity development of the Palestinian ministries and institutions, including social sector data base development; assessment surveys and reports; and training of personnel. Of equal importance, however, were advocacy and communication activities promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention for Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the World Summit Goals for Children, and the PA's National Programme of Action for Palestinian Children.

The 1996-97 health and nutrition programme aimed at ensuring basic services for Palestinian children and women, with a strong focus on capacity development; community mobilization; support to maternal and child health programmes and appropriate primary health care services; standardization of case management of major childhood diseases; advocacy with top policy-makers; international networking; nutrition promotion; and development of information, education and communication activities. UNICEF programmes included the Expanded Programme on Immunization; Control of Diarrhoeal Disease; Acute Respiratory Infections; Women's Health; Nutrition (breast-feeding promotion and iodine deficiency disorders); and the Health Services Management Unit.

Technical assistance and cash support to the primary education sector included teacher training and curriculum development projects and active learning and reading promotion projects. Capacity development of the Ministry of Education was supported through the Education Management of Information System. The global initiative 'Education for All' was launched through teacher training programmes, curriculum development and advocacy.

The Early Childhood Development and Better Parenting projects with the Ministry of Social Affairs and NGOs included the development of safe play areas for children, and psychosocial development activities for children affected by trauma. The Youth and Community Development programmes focused on the sensitizing youth to women and children's rights issues; summer camps for entertainment and non-formal education; and development of an area-based Child-Friendly Community Initiative in 15 communities in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sport and several NGOs.

UNICEF's efforts have been centered on improving the quality of basic services; targeting the most vulnerable groups in society; and reducing gender and other disparities. The PA's adoption of the National Programme of Action for Children, the establishment of a Secretariat for Children within MOPIC and the High Council for Children under the auspices of PA President Arafat, among other initiatives, are evidence of the PA's endorsement of UNICEF's advocacy of 'putting children first'.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNICEF has identified three major programme areas for the next biennium:

Advocacy and Capacity Development

UNICEF will actively promote the 'child first' ethos, aimed at sustaining the PA's capacity to prioritize women and children and to establish ongoing monitoring of their conditions, in accordance the World Summit Goals, CRC and CEDAW. UNICEF will assist the PA in policy formulation, social welfare monitoring, contingency planning and emergency preparedness. At the community level, UNICEF will be working toward social mobilization and awareness-raising. UNICEF will support capacity development of the Palestinian media through the training of journalists on a rights-oriented approach using CRC and CEDAW, and to produce gender-sensitive communication materials. UNICEF will support policy-makers and other institutions in the legal sector to promote institutionalization of children's and women's rights.

Partnership-oriented efforts in research, networking, capacity-building and development of common advocacy and public awareness-raising strategies will be highlighted in 1998-99, along with a special focus on development of a legal framework which integrates the principles of the CRC and CEDAW. UNICEF will support preventive measures within the social services sector in order to reach children and women at risk from violence, disability, poverty and trauma, and will support protective measures for the rehabilitation of such children and women.

Health and Nutrition

UNICEF will target maternal health and child/youth health issues within the framework of the National Health Plan, with particular emphasis on nutritional deficiencies. UNICEF's overall objectives are to work toward reduced infant, child and maternal mortality and morbidity levels through improving technical and managerial capacity within the health system, including capacity development initiatives within the Ministry of Health; training of health professionals; advocacy with top policy-makers; and international networking through projects in children's health, women's health, nutrition and health management systems.

At the community level, UNICEF will promote health education and awareness-raising through the production of health education materials. The interventions will be integrated into school health and non-formal education initiatives, including the media, and will be complemented by social mobilization activities in clinics and community-based projects.

Basic Education

Activities in this area will focus on early childhood development, primary education, and development of life skills for adolescents, as well as emphasizing the linkage between the three. UNICEF will prioritize capacity development activities aimed at improving accessibility, quality, equity and relevance of education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and ensuring that education sector issues concerning gender parity and children with special needs will be addressed.

UNICEF will continue to support the Ministry of Education's Management of Information System and School Mapping Project, and will continue to promote the Education for All initiative through training and production of learning materials, as well as the development of early childhood and extracurricular educational activities for children, adolescents and youth together with the Ministries of Social Affairs and Youth and Sport and NGOs.

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

UNIDO has a long history of delivering technical assistance to the Palestinian people, implementing more than 25 projects over the past 18 years.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

UNIDO established a permanent field representation in 1996 to coordinate and assist in the technical execution of all ongoing and proposed UNIDO projects, and to activate other long-term services to the PA and Palestinian industry such as investment promotion and dissemination of information, drawing on UNIDO's network of investment promotion offices and its Industrial and Technological Information Services Network.

Projects implemented in this period ranged from assistance to small- and medium-scale enterprises, through the newly-established industrial unions, to the promotion of renewable energy application, and training courses and seminars on investment opportunity analysis, small-scale glass technology, and agrochemicals risk reduction. Over 100 Palestinians have received training in these fields over the past two years. UNIDO also implemented an extensive institutional development project in the construction and building materials industry. Four preparatory assistance projects were finalized, leading to the formulation of project proposals for UNIDO technical assistance. UNIDO also extended the investment promotion programme through the continuation of a long-term Palestinian Delegate Mission at UNIDO's Investment Promotion Office in Milan, Italy.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNIDO has developed a programme based on its recently completed evaluation of economic development, particularly industrial development, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNIDO's programme was designed in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and in response to specific requests made by the PA. The majority of the projects are ready for immediate implementation. They are divided into three sub-programmes, as follows:

Policy Promotion and Dialogue

Projects in this sub-programme are aimed at capacity development within the Ministry of Industry and other relevant PA institutions concerned with policy, promotion and dialogue in the industrial sector, and are as follows:

• Capacity development for the formulation, monitoring and updating of a national industrial strategy;

• Capacity development for industrial investment promotion;

• Ecologically sustainable industrial development programme for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Public Sector Support Infrastructure

Projects in this sub-programme are aimed at supporting PA public sector institutions in maintaining adequate infrastructure for development, e.g., the establishment of infrastructure in standardization and quality control.

• Strengthening the Palestinian Standards Institute;

• The introduction of total quality improvement systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;

• Feasibility study and environmental impact assessment for Gaza City municipal industrial area;

• The establishment of a biomedical equipment repair and maintenance centre;

• Building up support capacity in the private sector The projects defined below are aimed at providing direct support to private sector development:

• The establishment of a Palestinian venture capital fund.

• Modernization of the footwear manufacturing sector;

• A fashion design and technology development centre;

• The establishment of a plastics services and training unit;

• The establishment of a Palestinian Building Resource Centre.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

UNIFEM has provided assistance to Palestinians since 1996 in two areas: the economic empowerment of women, and the institutionalization of gender planning in governmental and non-governmental structures. Assistance is concentrated in three main programmes: post-Beijing follow-up; the Women in Development (WID) Facilitation Initiative; and economic empowerment of women in the Gaza Strip.

The WID Initiative pilot phase was implemented together with MOPIC. Its long-term goal is to increase networking and information dissemination between women; pilot phase activities included the publication of newsletters featuring issues related to women's development and empowerment; the design of a database on institutions and programmes addressing women's issues; and workshops on networking skills and credit programmes.

In addition, a women's economic empowerment programme was launched jointly with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA), UNRWA's training department, and the industrial development department of ESCWA. Pilot activities focused on two levels: individual training for women in entrepreneurial skills and leadership development; and capacity development within the MSA and NGOs with the aim of providing permanent gender-sensitive institutional structures and market-oriented training which will promote increased participation by women in the small and micro-enterprise sector in the Gaza Strip. By the end of 1996, 21 co-trainers in business skills training and 20 low-income women entrepreneurs had been trained.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNIFEM intends to develop and expand its ongoing works to assist in strengthening Palestinian national institutions and to promote the advancement of Palestinian women as active participants in the development of their society. Specifically, work will include the following activities:

• Support for women entrepreneurs, an expansion on the ongoing Women's Leadership and Entrepreneurship Skills Development project, which will continue to train women in going into business for themselves and obtaining credit and business counseling. Cooperation will continue with related programmes, such as UNRWA's Lending Group System and microenterprise programme, and the rural credit line being launched by IFAD/AIDOS which will provide trainees with direct access to credit facilities.

• The WID Facilitation Initiative, a two-year follow-on project following on from the pilot phase which will continue to expand capacity of the MSA's Vocational Training Centres and Social Development Centres to support women's entrepreneurial activities.

• Phase II of the Post-Beijing Follow-up Operation will focus on capacity development in PA ministries and NGOs toward the formulation and implementation of a national strategy for the advancement of Palestinian women.

• Dissemination of information on the UN Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and women's rights issues.

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNITAR has responded to requests from the Palestinian Authority by developing a training and capacity building programme on public administration issues related to financial management for the PA.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

With logistical support from UNDP, UNITAR carried out training activities: financial management and audit issues; management development programmes; and statistics. Assistance included the organization of local and regional workshops for 85 employees from a number of PA ministries.

UNITAR also drafted a comprehensive report for the PCBS for the development of a statistics training centre and related programmes, and placed a technical consultant in taxation law within the Ministry of Finance.

1998-99 Programme Plans

In order to respond to further requests for assistance from the Palestinian Authority, UNITAR is in the process of formulating capacity development programmes for 1998-99 in management development training; statistics training; grassroots training for economic and social development; and a joint UNITAR/UNDP training programme in financial management and auditing.

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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In addition to supporting the donor and United Nations coordination mechanisms, UNSCO continued to coordinate bilateral and multilateral training programmes for the Palestinian police. A joint formulation team produced a comprehensive project document for the establishment of a police academy for 400 trainees in Jericho. Thirty-one training courses took place in 1996 in the fields of basic forensic science; drug law enforcement; human rights; maintenance of public order; management development and training; management training for traffic police and women police management.

UNSCO provided support services to donors, including the facilitation and briefing of visiting missions and trainers as well as assistance in the monitoring, follow-up and evaluation of courses.

In June 1996, a new Economic and Social Monitoring Unit (ESMU) was established to provide donor country representatives, United Nations agencies and Palestinian Authority institutions with periodic socio/economic data analyses through Quarterly Reports. A Legal Advisor was appointed in late 1996 to coordinate the development of the justice/rule of law sector, through legal development advice to Palestinian institutions, the preparation and distribution of appropriate documents and the facilitation of in-sector consultation.

In addition, UNSCO published in early 1997 the 'Directory of Non-governmental Organizations in the Gaza Strip' and 'Directory of NGOs in Donor Countries Active in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip'. These contain information, in Arabic and English, on all NGOs operating in the Gaza Strip as well as the approximately 180 international organizations in donor countries, in order to facilitate networking and fund-raising.

1998-99 Programme Plans

UNSCO will continue to support donor and UN coordination mechanisms, in accordance with its mandate; to represent the United Nations family at the meetings of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee; and continue to work closely with the Palestinian Authority in the elaboration of the Palestinian Development Plan for 1998-2000.

UNSCO will also continue to coordinate training programmes for the Palestinian police force, and to regularly monitor and publish socio/economic data and report on conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A third directory, of non-governmental organizations in the West Bank, will be compiled and published.

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UPU developed a programme of cooperation with the Palestinian Authority aimed at enhancing the human and technical resource capacity of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. Within the framework of this overall strategy, UPU implemented a project which included training scholarships for postal employees, and the provision of postal equipment for the central postal administration.

1998-99 Programme Plans

In 1998-99, the UPU will continue to implement its existing programme of cooperation with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

World Food Programme (WFP)

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, WFP began work in September 1991, providing income supplements to targeted beneficiaries among the non-refugee population. Since 1994, WFP has been concentrating its efforts on poverty alleviation and social relief interventions aimed at the most severe hardship cases among the non-refugee population in the Gaza Strip, and the programme currently reaches some 16 percent of this beneficiary group.

1996-97 Programme Highlights

Implementation of the project Support to Social Safety Net Programmes in the Gaza Strip began in December 1996. The major share of WFP's assistance under this project is aimed at supporting the Ministry of Social Affairs social safety net scheme, which targets approximately 50,000 needy persons registered as special hardship cases, primarily impoverished households with no appreciable assets and little or no prospects for employment, over 65 per cent of whom are women heads of household. In 1996-1997, WFP will have expended US$5.42 million in assistance, including support to hardship cases, and support for the rehabilitation of post-conflict victims in the Gaza Strip.

Beginning in September 1996, a technical assistance component of the project allocated funding to provide one year of in-service training to 10 newly-recruited social workers. An additional 20 women from low-income households were recruited as volunteers to assist in the distribution of food commodities.

WFP also assisted the NGO sector by supporting local organizations active in health and social welfare with pilot activities aimed at improving their efficiency and relevance to community needs. WFP provided NGOs with food aid to supplement their operating budgets, allowing them to hire and retain needed staff and volunteers. WFP also ran a food-for-training project targeted at 1000 youths in seven training centres and two rehabilitation centres for the blind and visually impaired run by the Ministry of Social Affairs. In addition, WFP supported a pilot project targeting 500 households of small-scale fishermen and landless farmers in southern Gaza, aimed at increasing household food security and establishing a fund for the purchase of agricultural inputs in support of fisheries and post-harvesting activities, and for community development.

1998-99 Programme Plans

WFP will continue to implement projects described above: assistance to extreme hardship cases; support to NGOs; and support for landless farmers and fishermen in southern Gaza. Anticipated expenditures for the biennium are US$10.69 million.

World Health Organization (WHO)

1996-97 Programme Highlights

Having supported the Ministry of Health during the transfer of responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, WHO is now cooperating with the Ministry in strengthening the Palestinian health system. During the closure in 1996, WHO assisted the Ministry in complying with the MECACAR (Mediterranean, Caucuses and Central Asian Republics) initiative of polio eradication by procuring vaccines for its polio immunization campaign. WHO also helped to secure emergency funding for the procurement and delivery of costly vaccines for the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) campaign and of cold chain equipment. A review of EPI surveillance was also carried out and recommendations made to improve the overall quality of the EPI programme.

The Public Health Laboratory in the Gaza Strip was equipped with needed technology and WHO fielded a mission to define the legal framework for the operation of a proposed Central Public Health Laboratory in the West Bank, as well as determining the need for reviewing existing public health legislation. Other missions resulted in proposals for strengthening Ministry of Health policies and addressing neglected critical health issues. Major public health programmes were assessed, including maternal and child health activities, and tuberculosis, diabetes, and brucellosis control, in order to formulate proposals for strengthening the capacity of the Ministry to address these problems. A full-time consultant was seconded to the Department of Community Health at Bir Zeit University to assist in developing a primary health care curriculum and assisting in improving teaching methodologies.

WHO assisted the Ministry of Health in conducting a drug situation analysis and to support in the development of policies aimed at improving the provision and availability of affordable quality drugs and promoting their rational use. WHO, together with UNDP, also provided support to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture in the Palestinian Programme for the Control of Brucellosis. In addition, in order to devise an agreed framework for health sector development for the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to identify public investment initiatives, WHO cooperated with the World Bank and the Ministry of Health in a sectoral review outlining development strategies for health in the medium period. WHO also provided a full-time consultant to assist in developing the National Health Plan.


This is the third year in which the United Nations has documented an integrated approach to the development effort in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In previous years, the United Nations strategy papers in six priority sectors and Overview – 'Putting Peace to Work' – was the principal means of formulating United Nations priorities and strategies and attracting project funding. The 'United Nations Programme of Cooperation for the West Bank and Gaza Strip 1998-1999' has been prepared in the belief that a document setting out UN policies and projects remains necessary, both as a means for the United Nations to clarify its own programmes and plans, and as a way of informing donors and other development partners of the extent of the UN initiative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This year, given the increase in the planning capacity of the Palestinian Authority, it is appropriate that the United Nations programme be integrated more closely into the Palestinian Development Plan (PDP) and that the PDP serve as the major vehicle for presenting priority projects for donor funding. By outlining the UN's comparative advantage and the unique contribution which the UN can make to the development effort in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, this document should highlight the added value which the United Nations can bring to the Palestinian Authority's programmes. By setting out programmes and plans for the biennium, 1998-1999, the United Nations hopes to mark a shift away from the emergency relief measures which occupied substantial donor attention in 1996-1997 to focus on long-term sustainable development.

The objectives outlined above are the foundation of this document. Providing donors and other development partners with a comprehensive overview of the operational context, and of the working plans of United Nations organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, should ensure complementarity and avoid duplication of effort and resources. It is hoped that the present document will serve as a first, important step in this process and that the participatory approach involved in producing the document faithfully reflects the combined experience gained by the United Nations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and represents UN priorities and objectives for 1998-1999.

List of Acronyms

DDSMS Department for Development Support and Management Services

ESCWA Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

FAO Food and Agriculture Organization

IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency

ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation

IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development ILO International Labour Organisation

IMO International Maritime Organization

ITC International Trade Centre

ITU International Telecommunication Union

MOPIC Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation

PA Palestinian Authority

PCBS Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

PDP Palestinian Development Programme

PLC Palestinian Legislative Council

UNCHS (Habitat) United Nations Centre for Human Settlements

UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNDCP United Nations Drug Control Programme

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund

UNHC/CHR United Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights

UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund

UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization

UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women

UNITAR United Nations Institute for Training and Research

UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency

UNSCO United Nations Office of the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories

UNV United Nations Volunteers

UPU Universal Postal Union

WFP World Food Programme

WHO World Health Organization


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