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Report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the
Programme budget 2008-2009
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a. Have long and healthy lives;
b. Acquire appropriate knowledge and skills;
c. Enjoy a decent standard of living; and
d. Enjoy human rights to the fullest extent possible.
4. Although UNRWA is a principal agent for the human development of Palestine refugees in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Lebanon, the Agency is not the only organization whose activities contribute to the human development of Palestine refugees. UNRWA does not, for example, engage in activities in the areas of tertiary education, rule of law or security. The Agency’s identity remains that of a public service organization that provides essential services to Palestine refugees in the areas of relief and works as well as the direct delivery of education (Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2), health (MDGs 4, 5 and 6), relief and social services (MDG 1), infrastructure (MDG 7) and microfinance (MDGs 1 and 3). These will continue to be the main programmes through which services are delivered. The Agency will also maintain its emergency response activities for which there has been an increased need in recent years in some fields.
5. During 2008-2009, UNRWA will ensure that its programmes are delivered in accordance with the Agency’s commitment to inclusion, protection, gender equality, and support for vulnerable groups.
b. “Incorporating protection strategies” is a second overarching theme which must be reflected in everything the Agency does. Protection encompasses activities that are geared towards obtaining full respect for the rights of refugees under relevant international law. The Agency continues to develop a protection strategy which focuses on clarifying the actions, rights and legal precepts that are germane to UNRWA’s mandate and to the Agency’s specific operational context. The strategy will seek to maximize the points of intersection between the human development and human rights paradigms.
c. “Caring for the vulnerable” through the identification, and specific tailo “Caring for the vulnerable” through the identification, and specific tailoring, of services to especially vulnerable groups within the Agency’s refugee populations. The Agency will continue to focus on alleviating poverty among poor Palestine refugees in the short to medium term and building their human capacity in the long term. In addition to addressing the needs of the abject poor, the Agency will concentrate on providing targeted support to children with special educational needs by furnishing specialist teaching support to persons with disabilities and by providing community based rehabilitation support.
d. “Ensuring gender equality” (MDG 3) through the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into all activities and policies and through fostering an institutional culture that is both gender sensitive and gender-responsive.
e. “Protecting the Environment” through a better understanding and awareness of the environmental impact of operations and attempting to minimise negative impacts. This is an area that the Agency will be able to explore only with additional funding.
b. Participation of and consultation with our stakeholders;
c. Decentralization, empowerment and a focus on delivery in the field;
d. Evidence based planning and needs based service delivery;
e. Integration and coordination of planning leading to a holistic approach to service delivery;
f. Innovation and responsiveness; and
g. Effective partnerships with beneficiaries and coordination with other service providers.
b. Relative to global and regional standards, labour force participation rates are low. In the 20-24 year age group participation in the five fields of operation ranges from 51 per cent to 57 per cent;
c. Population density in refugee camps is extremely high by global standards;
d. Two-thirds of refugees now live outside refugee camps;
e. Use of UNRWA services differs considerably among the fields of operation;
f. UNRWA is the main regular service provider of basic health care services in all fields;
g. There are an estimated 485,000 refugee children of primary school age in UNRWA schools; and
h. There are approximately 250,000 registered Special Hardship Cases (SHCs) in 2007 compared to 90,000 in 1983.
9. A number of basic services are available to all refugees in all fields: primary education, technical and vocational training, comprehensive primary health care, and relief for impoverished families. There are also other activities which are undertaken according to unmet needs in specific circumstances, such as the provision of secondary education in Lebanon. Activities in this category will continue to be tailored to local needs and conditions allowing for different delivery modalities from field to field. The emphasis is on effectiveness and appropriateness in different environments.
10. UNRWA’s Regular Budget for the 2008-2009 biennium comprises recurrent staff and non-staff costs. It is further divided into cash and in-kind portions. The cash budget is funded through cash contributions recorded as income to the General Fund (GF). The in-kind budget represents the value of donations that the Agency expects to receive based on agreements with donors or past practice.
11. The projects budget comprises mainly non-recurrent costs for funding by earmarked contributions. Only projects for which earmarked funds are received are implemented.
12. The projects budget has been included in the budget summary (see Table 1) at $114.4 million as this reflects consistent historical funding levels. However, for the purposes of transparency, the actual project funding requirements which are considerably higher are listed in separate Programme budgets. Therefore, the 2008-2009 budget does not represent the totality of the Agency’s needs for the biennium. Planning for the emergency appeals is conducted on a six monthly or annual basis and does not lend itself to inclusion in the budget. During the biennium, the Agency will present potential donors with funding proposals from the projects budget.
13. Although UNRWA prepares its budget on a biennial basis, operations are financed on an annual basis. Accordingly, the budget reflects both biennial and annual aspects.
15. This phase of the budgetary exercise includes special provisions to; integrate and enhance new outcome-related service delivery requirements, implement government decrees promulgated by the host authorities, address unmet basic priority needs of a recurrent nature, respond to other stakeholder requirements and allow for general increases in the costs of activities. This stage of the budget preparation process takes account of the following information:
17. Under-funding presents a significant risk to the achievement of the Agency’s performance indicators and targets. The Agency, host authorities and donors, are all well aware of the negative impact that under-funding can have on the quality of services delivered.
19. During the 2008-2009 biennium, there will be a continuing need for UNRWA to maintain operations at least at the same levels as in 2006-2007.
20. UNRWA expects a gradual increase in the number of registered refugees. Despite efforts by the Agency to make internal efficiency savings, it is inevitable that resource requirements will continue to increase.
21. In addition to economic, social and security risks, the Agency’s services are also vulnerable to changes in funding levels of donor countries as well as changes in the ability of host authorities to assist in the serving of Palestine refugees.
22. Service delivery to refugees in the areas of education, health, relief, social services, microfinance, microenterprise and infrastructure – and st Service delivery to refugees in the areas of education, health, relief, social services, microfinance, microenterprise and infrastructure – and staff costs in particular - now consume the majority of the budget. This leaves an ever smaller amount of funds for investing in improving the quality of UNRWA’s services. As a consequence, the Agency has very limited scope for change.
23. The staffing review being conducted under the Agency’s Organizational Development (OD) initiative will identify whether the Agency is using its staff in the most cost-effective manner. However, in light of a growing refugee population, any reforms will, at best, have a marginal short-term impact on the Agency’s scope for change.
b. Critically reviewing the way in which the Agency currently operates to identify performance improvements and improve the quality and impact of its services; and
c. Planning for some key programme improvements without which the scope and quality of programming, services and facilities will be at risk of further deterioration.
b. An assessment of the services and activities which the Agency undertakes, and the environment in which they are offered, to develop a more detailed understanding of their respective contributions to enhancing human development;
c. Identifying sets of core and non-core services which will give a clearer framework for performance measurement, efficiency and effectiveness reviews and the prioritisation and allocation of scarce budgetary resources;
d. Developing a comprehensive framework of service delivery and quality standards in all areas of the Agency;
e. More efficient service delivery methods through placing greater emphasis on holistic, inter-disciplinary approaches in both planning and implementation, and through building partnerships;
f. Strengthened internal capacity and processes (including an approach to resource allocation based on achieving Human Development (HD) outcomes), and
g. Further increasing the level of consultation and participation in the planning process with the Agency’s stakeholders.
b. Leadership and management;
c. Organizational processes; and
d. Programme management.
28. A Programme Management Cycle (PMC) approach will be introduced to provide for an integrated, comprehensive, strategic and results-based approach to the way the Agency manages its programmes, projects and other interventions. It will:
b. Improve the monitoring of our interventions on a regular and systematic basis;
c. Ensure data collection, data analysis and monitoring and evaluation activities are being fed into programme development and delivery; and
d. Further develop the Agency’s information management system.
31. The Agency has requested adjustments to the Staffing Table, establishing 20 new posts necessary for the Agency to achieve the goals described in the OD plan. In this regard, the OD process recognizes, at its core, that the Agency’s goals cannot be achieved without an injection of more internationally qualified personnel. These posts will account, in part, for gaps created in a streamlining exercise undertaken in 1993 when the Agency’s headquarters moved from Vienna to Gaza on the assumption, created by the Oslo Accords between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that a solution to the Palestine refugee problem was in sight.
32. The 20 posts are essential to meet the Agency’s need to:
b. Strengthen the Commissioner-General’s office to address the streamlining referred to above; and
c. Strengthen the Agency’s relationships with host and donor governments.
35. The Project Budget has been prepared according to the Agency’s generic priorities for project funding listed below. These generic priorities have equal standing; they have been numbered for reference purposes only.
b. Maximizing the economic potential and employment opportunities;
c. Development of camp infrastructure;
d. Enhancing capacity building including system management;
e. Achieving parity with the host authority standards;
f. Relieving hardship and providing essential support to vulnerable groups; and
g. Upgrading of installations including warehouses.
b. Make the financing of UNRWA’s activities more predictable by pursuing multi-year funding agreements;
c. Broaden the donor base in the governmental and non-governmental sectors, particularly in the Gulf region;
d. Seek alternative sources of human resources to fill gaps in the Agency’s international staffing; and
e. Enhance the Department of External Relations coordination of fundraising activity with the active involvement of a wide range of Agency actors.
47. The ability of the Agency to provide its regular services to a clientele population that grows at approximately 2.5 per cent per annum is entirely dependent on sufficient voluntary funding being made available to it annually. The Agency is also dependent on additional funding earmarked for its projects budget and emergency operations. Figures 7 and 8 below show the expected sources of funding of the Agency's total budget volume for the years 2008 and 2009 respectively, including both the regular and projects budgets.
54. To provide, improve and optimize vocational and technical education for young Palestine refugees to enhance their opportunities for employment and economic independence.
55. To provide, improve and optimize pre-service teacher education to increase the pool of qualified teachers for prospective recruitment as UNRWA teaching staff.
56. To enhance capacity building for technical and administrative education staff at all levels in line with School as a Focus for Development (SFD) including Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) and Management Development (MD).
57. To ensure equity and equality of access to quality learning for children with special educational needs (SEN).
58. To foster and promote amongst teaching staff and students the awareness and understanding of human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance.
59. To contribute to the process of establishing system-wide programmes addressing gender mainstreaming, child disabilities, psychosocial health and life-skills-based education within systems-wide strategies.
a) School Development Division
63. To improve refugee access to quality of medical services by increasing the focus on good management and results-based best practices to ensure relevance and cost effectiveness of the services.
64. To prevent breakdowns in service delivery during crisis by applying Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and timely follow-up of Assessment Reports.
65. To improve coverage to non risk pregnancies and cancer patients according to standardized protocols.
66. To decrease the burden of death and disability caused by communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and the emerging avian flu, and non-communicable diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases by implementing primary prevention and secondary prevention.
67. To improve environmental health conditions in refugee camps by ensuring safe-water supply, solid waste management and vector control.
68. To develop, direct, monitor and evaluate the Agency’s health care programme, enhance its institutional capacity and streamline its policies and strategies consistent with the progress achieved by public health sector services of the host authorities guided by the health information system and operational research.
72. To ease the immediate plight of the most destitute eligible registered persons, including family members of registered refugee women married to non-refugee husbands (MNRs), through basic subsistence support, with the gradual closing of the gap in safety net provisions between those of the host authorities and UNRWA.
73. To promote and facilitate community-based activities which creates social, cultural, economic or educational opportunities and provides services for women, the elderly, children, youth and persons with disabilities.
74. To promote the institutional capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) through training and technical assistance, to enhance refugee empowerment and participation in the formulation and implementation of social services for vulnerable groups in their communities.
75. To improve the quality and effectiveness of the Microcredit Community Support Programme (MCSP) by focusing most assets on indirect credit provision through community-based lending (via CBOs).
76. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery to Special Hardship Case (SHC) families through reduction in social worker case loads, the operationalization of the generalist approach to social work, the introduction of social work specialists/clinical supervisors, systematic in-service training and the improvement of overall working conditions.
77. To identify SHC families who have lost their homes or who live in sub-standard housing as a result of chronic poverty or other circumstances and to ensure their shelter needs are addressed through UNRWA’s Department of Infrastructure and Camp Improvement.
78. To assist families, on a case-by-case basis, with small-scale emergency needs during family-specific economic or humanitarian crises.
79. To mobilize large-scale emergency disaster responses (particularly food aid and cash assistance) as needed, in cooperation with other Agency programmes and local/international efforts.
80. To computerize the records of approximately 4.8 million registered persons on new web-based information technology and create an integrated refugee database utilizing available refugee profile input from Agency programmes.
(Cash and In-kind, in thousands of United States dollars)
84. To provide operationally self-sufficient and sustainable credit in a cost-effective manner through targeting financial services in poorer urban areas with a high concentration of commercial, service and industrial businesses. Areas will be selected primarily on the basis of having highly a localised density of Palestine refugees.
85. To develop and expand the programme through adhering to international standards of outreach and efficiency so that the programme can be benchmarked and assessed against other practitioner institutions. The programme strives to achieve the best practices of the emerging microfinance industry through its participation in local and regional microfinance networks by adopting the standards and practices established for the industry by such institutions as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, the United States Agency for International Development, the Microfinance Network, Sanabel, Calmeadow Foundation and Accion International.
86. To meet the emerging standards for business training and business development services (BDS), where all the direct costs of training are met from participation fees and only the overhead and administrative costs are subsidised from donor contributions.
87. To open up the prospect of savings to poor refugees other marginal groups that do not have access to the banking sector because they are unable to meet the minimum deposit requirements.
Table 16: Microfinance and Microenterprise Department Resource Requirements by Activity
(In thousands of United States dollars)
Infrastructure and camp improvement programme
91. To promote an appealing and healthy urban environment for Palestine refugees through the provision of well maintained water, wastewater and electricity infrastructure along with universally accessible road and footpath networks.
92. To ensure that all UNRWA facilities are efficiently planned, designed, constructed and maintained in order to meet the physical infrastructure needs of both Palestine refugees and the Agency.
b. Environmental Infrastructure
c. Housing and Camp Improvement
d. Programme Management
Table 17: Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme Resource Requirements by Activity
(Cash and In-Kind, in thousands of United States dollars)
96. To ensure overall programme strategy coheres with the Agency mandate as well as the needs and desires of the beneficiary population.
97. To implement a three-year Agency-wide plan for organizational reform.
98. To effectively manage the Agency’s financial resources, ensuring accountability and transparency.
99. To provide policy advice to the Commissioner-General.
100. To provide legal advice and support, particularly concerning matters of international law.
101. To maintain productive relationships with donors, governments and other stakeholders, and increase financial support to the Agency.
102. To promote the Agency’s work internationally and locally.
103. To ensure all staff understand and support the Agency’s mandate and mission.
104. To strengthen cooperation with other UN agencies and other international actors.
105. To establish a quality assurance function aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction through effective communication, reliability, timeliness and cost effectiveness of the operational and support services in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), procurement and administration.
106. To continue to implement further reforms and integration in the areas of procurement and logistics and ICT, and admin services to ensure that the provision of services achieves full effectiveness and best value for money.
107. To reinforce the Organizational Development process through supporting the field operations in streamlining and integrating their support functions.
108. To provide general administrative services which are integrated, streamlined and implemented Agency-wide.
Table 18: Support Departments Resource Requirements by Activity
(Cash and In-kind, in thousands of United States dollars)