• Political and armed conflict, civil unrest, an economic crisis and tightened access and movement restrictions have resulted in high-levels of protracted humanitarian needs.
• Over January-March, WFP assisted 480,000 financially insecure Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank through cash-based transfers (CBTs) and in-kind food assistance. Women and children raaccounted for 70 percent of those assisted.
• Funding limitations will force WFP to suspend in-kind food assistance in Gaza by early June should no new contributions be received.
Resources permitting, WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200709 aims to assist 600,000 non-refugees in Palestine - 290,000 in Gaza and 310,000 in the West Bank - predominantly through in-kind food distributions and CBTs using a voucher modality. The PRRO has three main objectives: meeting the food needs of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations; fostering early recovery and enhancing resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities in the face of economic hardship and restricted freedom of movement; and supporting the Palestinian Authority's national safety net by strengthening the government capacity.
WFP links its social transfers with local production and uses its purchasing power as a leverage to foster the agricultural sector development and connect small-scale producers, food-processors, retailers and consumers. Over 2011-2015, WFP invested approximately USD 180 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 110 million through CBTs.
CBTs serve as a multi-sectoral platform for partnerships and service provision, used by other humanitarian and development actors to deliver their own or complementary assistance with WFP's One Card. During the 2014 Gaza war, UNICEF and WFP reached over 300,000 people in record time with this innovative, flexible and rapidly scalable modality. In early 2016, UNICEF and WFP jointly assisted 68,000 people with food and WASH items. WFP's One Card is being used by UNRWA in the West Bank to reach 47,000 refugees monthly.
Gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment is central to WFP's operations. Food distribution points and partner retailers are easily accessible for women and located in areas close to households headed by
women. To strengthen the nutritional impact of its CBTs programme, WFP together with UNICEF runs a nutrition awareness campaign for 2,000 women and 1,000 men receiving CBTs in Gaza. The classes are instrumental to strengthen women's self-image as autonomous decision-makers and promote a common understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The programme is all the more critical as 50 percent of the population suffers from more than one micronutrient deficiency, particularly female adolescents in Gaza where 72 percent are deficient in vitamin D and 64 percent are deficient in vitamin A (2014 Micronutrient Survey). Since 2011, 4,850 women have benefitted from the training.
Supporting enhanced food security is a task shared by WFP, the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), with close links to activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and other partners. WFP's strategy in Palestine is aligned with the National Development Plan, the Ministry of Social Affairs' Business Plan and the Social Protection Sector Strategic Plan. WFP's interventions are integrated in the 2014-2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the 2016 Response Plan, and support Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1-5 and 8, particularly SDG 2, to end hunger.
• WFP and UNRWA are planning to scale up their partnership, to reach 90,000 refugees in the West Bank using WFP's One Card and technology. As of today, 47,000 people are assisted.
• Since October 2015, WFP has been providing CBT5 to an additional 15,000 people impacted by the 2014 conflict in Gaza. Households receive an adjusted voucher value based on their assessed level of vulnerability to food insecurity. The value of assistance received reflects vulnerability levels identified by the new Socio-Economic and Food Security survey (SEFSec) methodology, i.e., severely, moderately and marginally food insecure. Results of the six month implementation strategy will better inform WFP's future programme design and implementation.
• From April to September 2016, WFP will scale-up its nutrition awareness campaign in Gaza to reach an additional 500 women.
• Funding shortfalls continue to pose an operational challenge for WFP. In the West Bank, as part of WFP's first food distribution cycle (January-March), 68,000 food insecure people received reduced food assistance comprised of only wheat flour. Food distributions covering the first quarter needs of 30,000 Bedouins and herders living in Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank have been delayed until end-March/early April. In Gaza, funding shortfalls impacted food assistance to 89,000 people who received slightly reduced food entitlements over the first quarter.
• Due to lack of funding and with no contributions in sight, WFP will be compelled to suspend its in-kind food distributions with the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza as of early June. Additional resources are critical to avoid an imbalance of assistance and ensure programme integrity and impact.
WFP works closely with governmental, nongovernmental (Oxfam GB, Global Communities) and UN partners (UNRWA) to successfully deliver in-kind food and CBT assistance in Gaza and the West Bank.
In 2015, WFP provided assistance to 590,000 people. It co-leads, together with UNRWA and FAO, the Food Security Sector (FSS) which aims to strengthen food security analysis and response, and links humanitarian and developmental interventions for the Palestinian Authority. 45 organizations participate in the FSS and contributed to the SEFSec survey that assessed the socio-economic and food security situation in Palestine and informed WFP's programmes.
PRRO 200709 combines ongoing operations in the West Bank and Gaza to coherently address urgent humanitarian needs in Palestine, while supporting early recovery and sustainable, long term food security for non-refugees. WFP has been present in Palestine since 1991.
Contact info: Raphael du Boispean
Country Director: Daniela Owen
Further information: www.wfp.org/countries/palestine