WFP Country Portfolio Evaluation (CPE) - State of Palestine
2011 – Mid 2015
2. Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs) encompass the entirety of WFP activities during a specific period. They evaluate the performance and results of the portfolio as a whole and provide evaluative insights to make evidence-based decisions about positioning WFP in a country and its strategic partnerships, programme design, and implementation. CPEs are also conducted to help Country Offices in the preparation of Country Strategies and provide lessons that can be used in the design of new operations.
3. OEV is in the process of organizing a CPE for the State of Palestine to be carried out in 2015 by an external team of evaluators. The Palestine CPE will cover a period from 2011 to middle of 2015, including all WFP operations implemented since 2011 and all geographic areas covered by the portfolio. The State of Palestine was selected on the basis of country-related and WFP-specific criteria. It falls in the category of States where WFP has a relatively important portfolio and WFP Country Office (CO) would benefit the most from a CPE for future programming. The State of Palestine had emerged as a priority given that the timing will enable the Country Office to use the CPE evidence in its forward strategic planning for the next UNDAF cycle.
1.2. Country Context
4. The Third Palestinian National Development Plan (2011-2013) sought to continue the building of institutions as part of the Palestinian State to ensure safe, stable, and progressive future for Palestinian citizens. Four key sectors included were governance, social, economic, and infrastructure. The current Palestinian National Development Plan 2014-20161 focusses on realizing general policy directions including enhancing independent national economy, activating the private sector, combating poverty and unemployment, and enhancing social justice. The National Consensus Government aims to harmonize and integrate the previously divided government structures.2
5. Bordered by Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, Palestine3 is a State where the foundation and governance of the economy are fragmented, in East Jerusalem, the rest of West Bank and the Gaza Strip in isolation from one another. About 62% of the Palestinian citizens live in the West Bank and 38.4% live in Gaza Strip. The refugee population is 44.2% of the total population.4 With the recent outbreak in violence Gaza during July-August 2014, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is one of the world's most persistent conflicts rooted in differing claims to land, livelihood and water resources. The blockade of the Gaza Strip and the separation barrier in the West Bank have interrupted economic activity, further restricted freedom of movement, and resulted in high levels of protracted humanitarian crisis.5 The National Consensus Government developed the Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, in coordination with its partners, to provide a roadmap for the transition from humanitarian crisis to long-term development.6
6. Economy. Palestine is a lower middle income state with a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2,7007 and significant income disparities in its parts. The World Bank reports that economic growth dropped from 6% in 2012 to about 2% in 2013 as a result of political uncertainty, a reduction in aid, and the collapse of tunnel activity between Gaza and Egypt. A quarter of the Palestinian population lives in poverty, with rates in Gaza double to those in the West Bank.8 Concentration on the services and construction sectors allows limited room for further expansion in terms of capacity for job creation and technological innovation. They are relatively less dynamic than agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Much of economic activity is dependent on external assistance.
8. Food Security. Results of the 2013 Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey (SEFSec) show high food insecurity in Palestine, with a third of the households — 33 percent or 1.6 million people — food insecure. In Gaza, food-insecurity levels accounted for 57%, while 19% in the West Bank. These levels reversed the improvement that took place over the 2009-2011 period, when overall food insecurity in Palestine fell to 27%.13 Food insecurity is primarily driven by limited economic access to food due to restriction on freedom of movement, trade and investment; high unemployment rate among youth and women; demolition of an already weak agricultural infrastructure; land confiscation; limited access to land and water; settler violence; and a government safety net under strain. The magnitude of these factors, particularly on female-headed and vulnerable households, has resulted in the adoption of harmful coping strategies including, decreased food consumption, and high indebtedness, affecting overall household resilience.14
9. Nutrition. According to FA015, breastfeeding is a common practice but the exclusive breastfeeding rate remains low. One out of ten preschool children remains stunted. Major determinants of malnutrition are limited access to health services and food insecurity. Children of Gaza Strip are particularly affected. Prevalence of overweight and obesity are high among adult women. Micronutrient deficiencies are still widespread. Prevalence of goiter remains high among school-age children in Middle and Southern regions of the West Bank. Despite important efforts made, a large part of the households still do not use adequately iodized salt. Subclinical vitamin A deficiency affects preschool children. An effective programme of supplementation is now in place and plans to fortify foods are envisaged. Anemia affects almost a quarter of young children and half of women of childbearing age.
10. Social Safety Net. The Social Protection Sector Strategic Planning Summary states that Palestinian society suffers from declining living standards and deteriorated livelihoods. Donor funding has been flowing towards measures to protect the most vulnerable and provide social safety net especially for the unemployed, refugees and internally displaced Palestinians as a result of the protract conflicts and uncertainty. Social vulnerability has rocketed as a result of the mass displacement and destruction of the population, putting additional pressure on the social protection system. Eighty percent of people in Gaza depend on social assistance, while social transfers (both cash and in-kind) have become an important source of income for the majority of households, accounting for approximately 16% of total household consumption overall and 31% among the poorest households.16
11. Education. According to Unicef, Palestine children face increasing challenges in attaining and completing education. The effects of the conflict exacerbate already difficult learning conditions for children. Closures, curfews and military operations continuously disrupt children's schooling. Poor learning facilities and overcrowded classrooms (with almost 20 per cent of governmental schools working in double shifts) adversely affect students' ability to learn. The current NDP (2014-16) describes promoting quality education is still a challenge. In Gaza, average students per class room is 36.2; 74.6% of government schools and 86% of UNRWA schools operate on double-shift bases.17 Moreover, inadequate water and sanitation systems, limited educational and recreational supplies and insufficient facilities for extracurricular activities are among the many challenges schools face.18 On the other hand, the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in basic education is 93.5% for girls and 91.8% for boys according to UNESCO.19
12. Gender. The precarious economic and political situations, along with the rising food prices, have a pronounced effect on women. While Palestinian progress towards Millennium Development Goal 3 "Promote gender equality and empower women" has reportedly been positive in educational targets, women's economic and political participation remains low. Traditional gender roles in Palestine reinforce men's role in economic activities, while women are generally expected to prioritize domestic responsibilities and reproduction.20 Furthermore, the recent UNCTAD21 report highlights that women's participation is concentrated in the informal sector and a narrow range of fields in the formal economy. Women tend to be represented more in professional and clerical public sector jobs, and at the lower end of the agricultural and informal sectors. The inability of the constrained Palestinian economy to produce decent employment opportunities leaves relatively young rural women, with only a high-school education or less, and dim employment prospects and a myriad of social disadvantages.
1 The 2014-2016 Palestinian National Development Framework.
2 The National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza 2014.
3 The designations employed, maps and the presentation of the material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations World Food Programme concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delineation of its frontiers or boundaries.
4 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestinians at the End of 2012, December 2012.
5 WFP Palestine Strategy 2014-2016, pp 6.
6 The National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza, October 2014.
7 See Annex 4.
8 World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/westbankandgaza/overview#1
10 World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/westbankandgaza/overview#1
12 Palestinian National Plan 2011-13: Social Protection Sector Strategic Planning Summary.
13 WFP SPR 2014; See also the 2015 UN Strategic Response Factsheet.
14 WFP Palestine Strategy 2014-2016.
15 http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/nutrition/pse en.stm
16 The National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza 2014, pp 31.
17 The current NDP (2014-16), pp 37-38.
18 http://www.unicef.org/oPt/overview 5630.html
20 WFP Palestine Strategy 2014-2016.
21 Report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, pp 8