The Gaza Strip – Facts, Figures and UNDP’s
Response to the Ongoing Crisis
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth, with a total area of 365 km2 and a population of over 1.4 million. Against the backdrop of occupation, the elections in 2006, the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, and the resulting escalation in tensions, the situation for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has worsened, with marked increases in unemployment, poverty and deaths. This situation has been compounded by the Cast Lead incursion in 2008/09. Not only have people’s livelihoods been severely affected, but also entire families are rendered homeless. In addition, the crippling effects of the closures have been widely felt, with hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost, people prevented from reaching their places of work, children unable to attend their schools, fuel and import shortages kept at a bare minimum, and the majority of the population dependant on humanitarian assistance.
The Gazan economy has come to a near standstill due to a combination of unemployment, closures, and restrictions placed on workers, industries, goods and services. With unemployment in Gaza reaching alarmingly high levels, the recent military operation has further paralyzed economic development, destroying much of the remaining productive resources, capital stock, and employment opportunities.
The Gazan economy is largely dependant on agriculture, however due to closures and land razing, this sector has been greatly affected. During the last military operation, there has been an increase in food insecurity and loss of livelihoods in the Strip. More specifically, the recent military operation has resulted in the demolition of greenhouses and agricultural infrastructure, the uprooting of trees, contamination of agricultural land, loses in livestock, and widespread damage to crops.
Essential infrastructure in the Gaza Strip have been devastated by the lack of construction materials, equipment and spare parts resulting from the blockade, and the destruction incurred during the recent military operation. The result is that many are left without water electricity and communications. In addition, municipal buildings and schools were damaged or destroyed and
roads rendered inoperative, resulting in thousands of tons of concrete rubble that need to be removed.
UNDP in the Gaza Strip
The volatile political and economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), especially in the Gaza Strip, confronts UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP)
with a number of challenges that hinder its initiatives in providing essential development assistance.
The Gaza Strip has been deprived of development since the imposition by Israel of a comprehensive blockade in 2007. As a result, development and reconstruction needs in the Strip are enormous: from governance and livelihoods to environment and infrastructure, especially in the aftermath of the military Operation Cast Lead (December 2008-January 2009) and November 2012. Unemployment rates in Gaza remain high; all while some 80 percent of the population receives humanitarian assistance in the absence of socio-economic development.
Despite the constraints, UNDP is implementing programmes to support Gaza’s recovery from the crisis and live a dignified life. UNDP’s Development for Freedom Agenda for 2012-2014 identifies four key areas of assistance for the Gaza Strip: Strengthening Democratic Governance and the Social Contract, Promoting Productivity and Dignity through Livelihoods, Protecting Natural Resources and the Environment and Public and Social Infrastructure.
Rule of Law and Access to Justice Programme (USD 22,000,000)
UNDP’s rule of law and access to justice programme aims at the gradual development of justice mechanisms in the Gaza Strip. Legal aid clinics are being established in addition to strengthening the capacity of the Palestinian Bar Association, upgrading of libraries at universities, raising awareness, engaging with the informal justice systems to bridge the gap with the formal system and establishing the network of legal providers. The Governments of Japan, Netherlands, CIDA, SIDA and UNDP/BCPR fund the programme.
Employment Generation Programme (kfw) (USD 16,806,094)
The overall objective of the programme is to improve the capacities of Palestinians to improve social service delivery through the construction of priority small-scale infrastructure and the utilization of labour intensive activities. The programme is funded by the Government of Germany through kfw.
Empowering disadvantaged women and their families in
emergency and post crisis situations (USD 250,000)
The project, funded by CIDA, supports disadvantaged women and their families through providing them with economic and social services, psychosocial support, recreational and awareness raising interventions.
Support to community colleges and NGOs in the field of
physical disability and rehabilitation (USD 237,000)
The project, funded by the Government of Japan, aims at improving access of the persons with disabilities to social and economic activities with better adaptation and inclusion in the society.
Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Programme – DEEP
This poverty reduction programme aims at supporting 12,000 families through access to promotional social safety net activities’ and financial services throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In addition, it will enhance the capacity and effectiveness of a number of microfinance institutions. The programme is funded by the Islamic Development Bank.
Al-Fakhoora Scholarship Programme (USD 237,000)
The programme aims at creating a Palestinian cadre to enhance education and development and to alleviate poverty among poor people who have no access to education. The Islamic Development Bank and HH office in Qatar fund the programme.
UXOs clearance and improvement of solid waste services (USD
The project, funded by the Government of Japan, aims at reducing threats to public health through the clearance and safe disposal of UXOs and management of municipal solid waste including construction debris in an environmentally sound manner.
Improve the capacity of the Coastal Municipal Water Utility
(CMWU) for monitoring the quality of water supply (USD
The aim of the project is to protect the public health of the Gaza population through improvement of monitoring of heavy metals in the water supply. The project is funded by the Austrian
Construction of Khan Younis Waste water Treatment Plant (USD
The project aims at improving public health, environmental conditions and quality of life of Khan Younis residents through constructing the first phase of an extendable WWTP. The project is funded by the Government of Japan, Islamic Development Bank, Kuwait Fund and UNDP.
Emergency water supply in Rafah and Beit Hanoun (USD
The project includes the construction of one storage tank, and booster pump station in Rafah serving the area of central Rafah and Tal sultan.
Construction of 100 housing units to rehouse affected
Palestinian Families (USD 7,600,000)
The project aims at Promoting recovery and restoration of the livelihood of affected Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli military operations. The project is funded by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Campaign.
Construction of demolished homes for non-refugee families
The project, funded by the Government of Japan, aims at providing alternate housing to 120 non-refugee families who lost their homes in Rafah and Khan-Younis.
Reconstruction of 46 housing units – self help (USD 2,000,000)
The project, funded by Islamic Development Bank, aims at providing housing for those who lost their homes during Cast Lead Operation.
Construction of 226 residential units in Rafah (USD 11,954,054)
The project, funded by the Saudi Committee for Relief of Palestinian People, aims at promoting recovery and restoration of the livelihood of affected Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli military operations.
Construction and rehabilitation of Wadi Gaza Bridges (USD
This project aims at supporting the local communities surrounding Wadi Gaza as a result of the destruction of the five Wadi Gaza bridges. The project is funded by the Government of Brazil.
Rehabilitation of culture and hospital centre for the Palestinian
Red Crescent Society (USD 1,000,000)
The project will enhance access to public health and social infrastructure through rehabilitation of 9 partially damaged/total floors from the hospital centers which is run by the PRCS. The
project is funded by the Governments of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA).
Renovation and rehabilitation works for maternities and PHCCs
The project, funded by the Saudi Fund for Development, aims at preserving basic health and medical services to women and children through the renovation and rehabilitation of maternities within six existing hospitals and four PHCCs in the Gaza Strip.
Rehabilitation of Gaza electricity distribution and transport
networks (USD 5,000,000)
The project, funded by Islamic Development Bank, aims at restoring damaged electricity networks in the Gaza Strip.
Urgent support to agriculture and electricity sectors (Electricity
USD 5,000,000, Agriculture USD 8,000,000)
The project, funded by Islamic Development Bank, aims at enhancing the resilience of the Gaza Strip residents through supporting agro-productivity and livelihoods based interventions and provide electricity transformers.
Document Sources: Islamic Development Bank, UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Country: Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa
Subject: Armed conflict, Assistance, Gaza Strip, Governance, NGOs/Civil Society
Publication Date: 23/11/2012