Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
24.2 UNRWA reports directly to the General Assembly. An overall review of UNRWA programmes and activities is undertaken by the 10-member Advisory Commission, which includes representatives of the Agency’s major donors and host Governments. The Advisory Commission has a working relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
24.3 The overall strategy of UNRWA for the biennium 2002-2003 is to continue to provide the assistance it has rendered for the last 50 years until there is a final resolution to the issue of the Palestine refugees. That assistance involves the provision of basic education, health and relief and social services to eligible Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Also provided for under this programme is emergency relief assistance to the beneficiary population and response to requests from the Palestinian Authority, host Governments and the Secretary-General as they arise, commensurate with available resources. The ability of the Agency to provide its services is entirely dependent on sufficient voluntarily contributed funds being made available to it annually.
24.4 The Agency’s concern is for the self-reliance of the refugee community. The long-term viability of its programmes and sustainability are key themes of its activities. Where feasible and desirable, UNRWA will continue to incorporate cost-sharing and self-support measures into its regular programmes in order to ensure the efficient use of resources and to support participation by the beneficiary population in the provision of Agency services.
24.5 UNRWA has continuously adapted its role and services in keeping with the needs of the refugees and the changing environment in which it operates. In its long history in the area, the Agency has demonstrated a capacity to adapt and enhance its programmes as required to cope with developments in the region, and it stands ready to continue to do so in accordance with the mandate it receives from the General Assembly.
24.6 Any future peace negotiations and/or continued conflict in the UNRWA areas of operations may necessitate that the Agency expand certain areas of its work or take on additional tasks related to the provision of programmes to the refugees.
24.7 The current situation in the Middle East has painted a number of scenarios for the future work of UNRWA. Should the unrest continue, increasing concerns regarding security issues, deteriorating economic conditions for the refugees and the restrictions surrounding the flow of goods, services and individuals will affect the work of UNRWA with the Palestine refugees. Should the peace talks resume and lead to a settlement, the Agency may be asked to assume new tasks with respect to the refugees.
24.8 Decreasing financial resources over the last few years has resulted in a reduction of UNRWA international staffing while the refugee population and its needs have increased significantly. Regardless of the future scenario, UNRWA is currently facing an increased workload and a demand for personnel with specialized skills. In addition to its current responsibilities, it is envisioned that new demands will have to be met, particularly in the areas of: provision of political analysis and legal advice, relief and social services, logistics, administration and human resources and security.
24.9 The mainstreaming of women in credit is a significant element of the development mission of the Agency’s Microfinance and Microenterprise Programme. As well as helping women to become economically self-reliant, loans to women help informal enterprise owners to develop formal enterprises and create a culture where women’s economic activity is socially valued. Women’s participation in the development process through credit to women microentrepreneurs translates into improved health and educational outcomes for their families and children.
24.10 UNRWA promotes credit for women through its Solidarity Group Lending programme, which provides credit solely to women-owned microenterprises. This is a programme that, apart from being targeted at women, is also largely staffed with women. The Agency feels this holistic approach is the best way to secure women’s economic participation in the economy of the West Bank and Gaza. During 2000, this programme provided 3,900 loans to women on an individual and group guarantee basis. These loans were valued at $2,980,000.
24.11 The resources for the biennium 2002-2003 under this section amount to $24,063,600, reflecting an increase of $888,200 (or 3.8 per cent at 2000-2001 rates). The resource growth is the net effect of an increase of $690,400 for the delayed impact of six new posts approved by the General Assembly for the biennium 2000-2001, an increase of $208,800 for two new P-3 posts to function as assistant field administration officers (one in the Gaza field office and the other in the West Bank field office), and a reduction of $11,000 for other staff costs. The two P-3 posts are required in view of the increased workload which UNRWA faces.
24.12 The amount of $749,688,000 for extrabudgetary resources for the biennium 2002-2003 represents 96.8 per cent of the total resources available to this programme. The existing arrangements for intergovernmental review and management of these extrabudgetary funds provide for the Advisory Commission to review UNRWA programmes and activities.
Table 24.1 Resource requirements
(Thousands of United States dollars)
(1) Regular budget
Table 24.3 Objectives for the biennium, expected accomplishments and indicators of achievement
Objective 1: To meet the basic educational and training needs of Palestine refugees and to enhance their educational and employment opportunities.
Objective 2: To meet the Palestine refugees’ basic health needs and to improve the overall state of health of their community.
(ii) Increase in case detection rate of non-communicable diseases;
(iii) Increase in the percentage of shelters with safe indoor water facilities and shelters connected to proper sewage facilities by 15 per cent.
(ii) Repayment rate of loans.
Objective 5: To improve infrastructure and socio-economic conditions in the Agency’s five areas of operation
(ii) Increased amount of contributions received for project implementation.
(a) Education programme: changes in the curriculum mandated by the host authorities; a worsening economic situation and increased unemployment lead to increased dropout and failure rates and psychological stress among students; high fertility rates among the refugee population result in overcrowded classrooms and impose pressure on the agency to find resources to build new schools and recruit additional teachers;
(b) Health programme: restrictions imposed by host Governments on the importation/distribution of medicines can compromise the quality of UNRWA medical services; frequent emergency situations in Gaza and the West Bank require advance preparedness and rapid response by the Agency’s medical services; sudden directives by host Governments regarding disease treatment and vaccine schedules create a demand for unplanned additional resources that have to be diverted from other activities;
(c) Relief and social services and microfinance and microenterprise credit programmes: political unrest with increased violence and worsening political and socio-economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza; increased numbers of disabled persons and the consequent need to provide additional rehabilitation services, creating further demands on already overstretched financial resources and available equipment; death or disability among breadwinners would increase the number of special hardship cases of people surviving below the poverty line who will require relief assistance from the Agency; limitations on the capacity of women’s programme centres to become fully self-sufficient; disruptions in the functioning of youth activity programmes;
(d) Project activities: availability of extrabudgetary resources.
24.15 During the biennium 2002-2003, the following outputs will be delivered:
(a) Education programme: the Agency’s education programme will continue to provide general education, teacher education and technical and vocational education and training for Palestine refugee children and youth within the framework of the prescribed curricula of the host Governments and the Palestinian Authority in accordance with their needs, identity and cultural heritage and consistent with UNESCO standards. The Agency will continue its efforts to improve the quality of teaching, training and staff development, and will continue to rely on UNESCO for technical expertise and support;
(i) General education: the Agency currently provides basic education (that is, elementary and preparatory education) in all its areas of operations for 476,352 eligible refugee children in 639 UNRWA schools, 5 of which provide secondary education on an exceptional basis in Lebanon accommodating 2,496 students. In the 2000/2001 school year, there was an increase of 2.18 per cent, or 10,197 pupils, over the preceding school year. General education is currently provided by 13,926 teaching staff. The school population is expected to grow at the rate of 2.4 per cent per annum to some 514,159 children by the end of the biennium, as a result of natural growth among the Palestine refugee communities. Furthermore, the Agency has to cater for the curricular changes adopted by the host Governments. Both factors will result in increases in staff as well as non-staff costs;
(ii) Technical and vocational education and training: the Agency currently provides 4,704 vocational and technical/semi-professional training places in eight training centres (2 in Jordan, 3 in the West Bank and 1 each in the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon and Gaza) where 51 trade and technical/semi-professional two-year courses are offered. The training curriculum is regularly revised and updated to conform to the demands of the local and regional labour markets. The number of places at the training centres is expected to grow to about 5,000 by the end of the biennium if sufficient special contributions are forthcoming for the establishment of planned new vocational and technical courses;
(iii) Teacher education: in order to meet the requirement of the Government of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority that teachers in the basic education cycle possess four-year first-level university degrees, the Agency currently provides pre-service teacher training, with a capacity of 900, at its three education science faculties in Jordan and the West Bank. The programme leads to a four-year first-level university degree. The education science faculty in Jordan provides in-service teacher education to 203 teachers to upgrade their qualifications from a two-year diploma to a four-year first-level university degree with three years of training. Only the pre-service programme is expected to continue at the same level during the biennium 2002-2003. The Agency also provides pre-service teacher training to 100 students at its training centre in Lebanon to prepare teachers for the first three elementary grades and 50 training places for teaching the French language to UNRWA students in the various cycles. The programme will continue at the same level during the biennium. In addition, the Agency provides regular institutionalized in-service training organized by the Institute of Education at Amman headquarters and implemented by the development centres in the Agency’s area of operations. The programme currently benefits 930 teachers, head teachers and other education staff and is expected to continue at the same level during the biennium, as a result of the increasing number of new teachers hired annually on a fixed-term basis under the newly introduced 1999 Area Staff Rules;
(iv) University scholarships: UNRWA provides university scholarships for refugee students who excel in general secondary school examinations to attain the first-level university degree. Owing to austerity measures adopted in August 1997, the General Fund portion of the university scholarship allocation was frozen. Since then, university scholarships have been subject to the receipt of donor contributions. In 2000/01, the Agency awarded scholarships to 450 students, down from 673 in the 1999/00 school year. It is expected that the number of scholarships will decrease drastically during the biennium if the current policy has to be maintained and no additional donor funds are received;
(v) Placement and career guidance: the Agency helps Palestine refugees graduated from its training centres and other institutions to secure suitable jobs, whether locally or in neighbouring countries. Counselling and career guidance are also provided for Palestine refugee students in both the preparatory and secondary cycles to acquaint them with the training courses available at the Agency’s training centres and to help them in selecting the proper vocation. Such services are expected to continue through the biennium in view of the outcome achieved at minimal cost;
(b) Health care services: the foundation of UNRWA health care remains its network of 123 primary health-care facilities. Cost-efficiency measures, such as containment of hospitalization costs, which were implemented to make optimal use of the limited financial and human resources, will be maintained. Likewise, the initiatives which were started under the Peace Implementation Programme to rehabilitate and upgrade a health infrastructure at the primary level and improve environmental health conditions in refugee camps will continue to receive high priority;
(i) Medical care services: UNRWA offers comprehensive primary health care for some 3.7 million Palestine refugees through a network of 90 health centres, 23 health points and 10 maternal and child health clinics. The services comprise outpatient medical care, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases and mother and child health-care and family-planning services which are fully integrated within the activities of the health centre. These services are complemented by school health services, oral health services and other support services, such as laboratory and radiology services. The Agency’s primary health-care facilities currently record over 7 million medical consultations per year and provide preventive care for approximately 300,000 pregnant women and pre-school children. Family planning services and specialist care for non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, mellitus and hypertension, are fully integrated within the Agency’s primary health-care activities. Specialist care, with emphasis on obstetrics and gynaecology, and cardiology, is also an integral part of primary health-care activities. In addition to services provided at the UNRWA-run 43-bed hospital at Qalqilia in the West Bank and six maternity units in Gaza, the Agency assists with secondary care through a hospitalization scheme for refugee patients at government and non-governmental organization hospitals. The Agency’s health programme also provides food aid in the form of dry rations for the most vulnerable population groups, including pregnant women and nursing mothers. Targeted health education and promotion activities are core elements of the programme and are implemented within a multisectoral approach. Current initiatives are aimed at promoting health lifestyles among population groups at risk, as well as educating youth on prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and prevention of tobacco use;
(ii) Environmental health services: basic environmental health services, including sewage disposal, management of storm-water run-off, provision of safe drinking water, collection and disposal of refuse and control of rodents and insects, are currently being provided for some 1.3 million registered refugees living in camps. The number of registered camp dwellers is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent per annum. In recognition of the fact that improvement in environmental health conditions in refugee camps is crucial not only to reducing health risks but also to socio-economic development, UNRWA places special emphasis on planning and implementing capital projects to improve infrastructure for water, sewerage and drainage and solid waste management, especially in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Five years after the establishment of the Agency’s special environmental health programme in the Gaza Strip, it has made a marked contribution to the camp infrastructure and nearby municipalities in the sectors of sewage, drainage and solid waste management, and is still involved in the planning, design and implementation of development projects within the framework of master planning by the Palestinian Authority;
(c) Relief and social services: the relief and social services programme will continue to support the most disadvantaged of the Palestine refugees to facilitate their social and economic self-reliance and development. This will be achieved through short-term direct relief for the destitute and longer-term developmental social welfare programmes. The latter include poverty alleviation (skills training and enterprise support) targeted especially at women, unemployed youth, disabled persons and others who would otherwise have difficulty in securing access to work and an income. A key strategy in the biennium 2002-2003 will be the strengthening of the community’s own mechanism for addressing those issues through technical and financial support, in particular for community-based projects. Professional training of staff in developmental concepts and techniques will continue to be an essential component, and will emphasize further the shift in their role from provider to facilitator, which was begun in previous bienniums;
(i) Relief services: direct material and financial assistance is provided for those refugee families who are unable to meet their basic needs and who meet the Agency’s eligibility criteria. In emergency situations, such assistance is extended to affected communities (refugees and non-refugees) as a temporary relief measure. Currently, 201,787 refugees (5.54 per cent of the population) are receiving assistance under the special hardship programme. The aim of the programme is to ensure minimum standards of nutrition and shelter and to intervene with cash grants in crisis situations if funds are available. The highest proportion of special hardship cases among the refugee population are found in Lebanon (10.76 per cent) and Gaza (8.62 per cent). The number of special hardship cases is expected to grow by an average of 3.5 per cent per annum during the biennium 2002-2003;
(ii) Social services: all registered refugees are in principle eligible to benefit from the social services provided. In practice, the target group is about 10 per cent of the total registered refugee population, which currently stands at some 3.7 million and is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent per annum to 3.92 million by the end of 2001. Technical and financial support is given for skills training and support for income-generating enterprises (via loans), rehabilitation of disabled persons, community development projects, women’s literacy and legal awareness, youth activities and leadership training. Social counselling is also given individually and in groups as an additional support for clients of those programmes. The 132 community-based organizations in the refugee camps will continue to play a key role in the assessment of needs in the refugee community and introducing or sustaining activities that respond to those needs, whether social, cultural, educational or economic;
(d) Microfinance and Microenterprise Programme: apart from the income-generating activities carried out under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, which seeks to assist destitute refugee families to become self-reliant, the Agency, in 1991, established a variety of revolving loan funds for small-scale and microenterprises to finance new enterprises, to create jobs and generate income and to develop the capacity of women entrepreneurs. Since June 1991, the Microfinance and Microenterprise Programme in the West Bank and Gaza has helped to promote small business development, create employment, improve the income of microenterprises and reduce poverty through the establishment of a number of targeted credit programmes aimed at small businesses, microenterprises and women. The Programme is organized around a revolving loan fund that supports three subprogrammes (small-scale enterprise, solidarity group lending and microenterprise credit) in Gaza and two subprogrammes (small-scale enterprise and microenterprise credit) in the West Bank. The Programme, which seeks to promote entrepreneurial skills, supports businesses varying in size from micro-vending, employing just one or two individuals, to small industries, and aims to satisfy a variety of such needs as capital funding and working capital financing. The Programme, which has generated significant international recognition, boasts repayment rates of 95 per cent and higher for its credit schemes, although the strife in the last quarter of 2000 in the West Bank and Gaza brought these rates down. Since it was established, the Microfinance and Microenterprise Programme has distributed $53.21 million through 38,621 loans (32,546 loans valued at $44.35 million in Gaza and 6,075 loans in the West Bank valued at $8.86 million). The total disbursement for the year 2000 was $13.75 million in 11,982 loans. The loan programmes have also created 2,250 new jobs and strengthened an additional 10,000 jobs. The Agency is seeking additional contributions from donors to expand its activities. With repayment rates of 95 per cent, the Microfinance and Microenterprise Programme in the West Bank and Gaza is the most successful of its kind in the area, covering 100 per cent of its operational costs from programme income.
Table 24.4 Resource requirements
Table 24.5 Summary of follow-up action taken to implement relevant recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
Table A.24.2 Requirements by object of expenditure
Table A.24.3 Post requirements
Other staff costs
A.24.2 The requirement of $12,400 provides for general temporary assistance for secretarial services rendered to UNRWA officials while in New York, either to attend meetings of the General Assembly or for other official business. The reduction is based on the pattern of expenditure.