|UNDP sets foundation for long-term recovery in Gaza
At the International Conference on the Palestinian Economy and Gaza Reconstruction, UN Under Secretary-General and UNDP Administrator, a.i., Ad Melkert called for more funding to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
"Long-term economic prospects and lasting social progress and stability depend upon the will of all parties concerned to refrain from violence and reach a political solution," Melkert said. "Whilst the humanitarian response to immediate needs is crucial, we must without delay expand our support to early recovery activities."
To date, UNDP has carried out a number of initiatives for the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP). UNDP/PAPP has an US$80 million operation in the Gaza Strip, mainly concentrating on labour intensive infrastructure activities, aimed at creating jobs, sustaining livelihoods and improving housing, water, sanitation, education and health services. In 2009 alone:
• UNDP, during the last military operation, distributed food packages to over 30,000 Palestinians not served by UNRWA, in Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun, Jabalia, Rafah and Gaza City. Funded by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nehayan Foundation, in partnership with the Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction – PADR/Gaza, the food aid programme delivered US$500,000 in emergency relief.
• In its capacity as co-lead of the UN early recovery team, UNDP is working with the Palestinian Authority, and national and international partners to assess damages and needs, and devise plans for rebuilding. UNDP has mobilized its team in the occupied Palestinian territory and deployed early recovery experts to assist in rapid assessments in Gaza. These assessments set the basis for recovery and reconstruction and will feed into the Palestinian Authority’s Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.
• UNDP has commissioned a household survey in order to understand the recovery priorities of the Palestinian people living in Gaza. Initial findings indicate that Gaza’s economy will require significant aid and will take years to fully recover. The survey, with a random sample size of 1,815 households from the five governorates of the Gaza Strip, revealed that two thirds of Gazans are currently living below the poverty line and the latest round of violence has exacerbated this situation.
• UNDP has signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority and is providing a total contribution of US$50 million to fund cash assistance packages to the Gazans population. The initial phase of the package has already been implemented at the cost of US$ 20.3 million.
• UNDP has recently signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) with total contribution of US$ 270 million to fund compensations for damaged agricultural property in Gaza. With its initial phase, totalling US$ 109 million, the project aims at compensating farmers in the Gaza Strip for their direct losses as a result of the 22 days of military operations which targeted Gaza most recently. Fourteen thousand farmers will benefit from the initial phase of the agreement.