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Source: World Bank
16 May 1994
Project Name
Region
Sector
Project ID
Implementing Agency
West Bank and Gaza-Emergency Rehabilitation Project
Middle East and North Africa
Non-Sectoral
5MNAPA001
Palestinian Economic Council for Development
and Reconstruction
c/o Palestine Bureau of Statistics (PBS)
Jerusalem
Fax 972-2 816-230
Contact: Dr. Hasan Abu-Libdeh
Deputy Managing Director
Date prepared
Appraisal Date
Board Date
May 16, 1994
October 1993
May 5, 1994


Background. The historic September 13, 1993 Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Declaration of Principles (DOP), and the prospect of significant development assistance from the international community provide a window of opportunity for addressing some of the most critical social and economic needs of the Palestinian population and for laying a foundation for addressing the many structural ills of the economy. Under DOP, Palestinian authorities will assume control of internal affairs in Gaza and Jericho; in the West Bank they will have significantly increased responsibilities. In preparation for exercising these new responsibilities, the PLO and its policy-making arm, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), have elaborated plans to rehabilitate the economy. Also, on October 31, 1993, they established the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) as the main vehicle for economic policy making, programming, management, administration and aid coordination during the period of transition to full autonomy.

To help mobilize international support for the OT, a donors conference was held in Washington, D.C. on October 1, 1993. Participants in the conference felt strongly that unless the Agreement was followed by signs of rapid economic and social improvement for broad segments of the Palestinian population, political support for the Agreement may wither, undermining the entire peace process and with incalculable consequences. In order to provide effective support to the OT, donors: a) pledged over US$2 billion in financial assistance; b) established an Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to help coordinate Donor assistance, with the Bank as secretariat; and c) requested the Bank to provide a programmatic framework for effective use of the planned assistance.

IDA Assistance Strategy. IDA has been in the forefront of efforts to help Palestinian authorities define a feasible and comprehensive rehabilitation and development strategy. Its six-volume study, prepared together with Palestinian counterparts during 1993 and entitled "Developing The Occupied Territories: An Investment in Peace", September 1993, provided the technical and policy underpinnings for the deliberations of the October 1993 Donors conference. Also the Bank set aside US$50 million from its profits into a special trust fund (the Trust Fund for Gaza) to help finance priority rehabilitation projects in Gaza, and established a US$35 million Technical Assistance Trust Fund to help finance studies for program and project preparation and institution building. Further, responding to the urgency expressed by all parties, IDA missions were dispatched to the OT during October 11 to November 22, 1993 and again during December 6 to 14, 1993, to prepare an Emergency Assistance Program (EAP, or "the Program"), a supporting Technical Assistance Program (TAP), and a complementary Emergency Rehabilitation Project (ERP). The EAP, TAP and an outline of ERP were presented at a Consultative Group (CG) meeting held in Paris on December 16, 1993. These were discussed and agreed by donors, and pledges of financial support were obtained.

Project Objectives. The proposed Emergency Rehabilitation Project is a core component of EAP. Its main objective is to help alleviate the current crisis by delivering widespread and tangible benefits to broad sections of the Palestinian population as quickly, equitably and effectively as possible. This would be done by removing the most critical infrastructural bottlenecks, improving essential facilities services, and creating productive employment.

Project Description. The proposed credit would help finance: (a) the rehabilitation, reconstruction and/or improvement of priority infrastructural services in four sectors: (i) education; (ii) power; (iii) water, waste water and sanitation; and (iv) roads; and (b) institutional support, capacity building and project management to effectively implement both the project and EAP. The infrastructure rehabilitation component would include: improvements to structures (including school buildings and road and drainage structures), networks, systems, plant and facilities; provision of essential vehicles, equipment and supplies (including laboratory equipment and text books), and spares; and technical assistance for project preparation and implementation. The institutional support component would include support for identifiable priority expenditures of central levels of government, covering: the establishment and operating costs of PECDAR for three years; incremental operating costs associated with the implementation of the project (project/contract review, evaluation, monitoring, accounting, auditing, reporting); essential vehicles equipment supplies and spares; and such other activities and expenditures which are essential for the effective execution of the project.

Project Cost/Financing. The total cost of ERP is estimated at US$128 million including physical and price contingencies. A Gaza
Trust Fund (para. 3) credit of US$30 million would help finance project components in Gaza. This credit would be on IDA terms. Donor cofinancing of US$18 million on a joint basis and US$80 million on a parallel basis would help support components in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Project Implementation. The project would be implemented over a three-year period beginning July 1, 1994, and draw upon the capacity being established in PECDAR for overall program management. Responsibility for policy guidance would lie with PECDAR's Board of Directors. However, responsibility for overall infrastructure investment program management, project implementation, monitoring and reporting would lie with the management of PECDAR, specifically with the Director of the Program Management and Monitoring Office (PMO). To ensure that PECDAR can mobilize quickly and yet remain a lean organization capable of responding effectively to changing circumstances, PMO would rely on the services of competent management and procurement consultants. This would be a firm recruited internationally under Bank procurement guidelines. PMO would also employ sector implementation consultants to help prepare and supervise the implementation of the power and inter-urban roads components. In order to avoid over-centralization and ensure that local needs and priorities are effectively attended to, while the PMO (and PECDAR) would have its headquarters in the West Bank it would establish a sub-office in Gaza. Also, to the extent possible, PMO would rely on existing institutions and agencies, mainly the municipalities, to execute sub-projects; and in order to expedite project implementation, municipalities would be provided with technical support and given considerable autonomy in contracting for works costing US$0. million or less. This limit would be reviewed periodically by PECDAR and adjusted upwards as municipalities demonstrate effective managerial capacity.

Project Sustainability. While the focus of ERP would be on rehabilitation, project components have been selected with a view to sustainability. A key step in project design was the joint development with Palestinian counterparts of a short and medium term strategic framework and the utilization of this framework for sub-project identification. Also, the project selection criteria include consideration of recurrent cost implications and would help to rule out sub-projects involving significant and unsustainable future recurrent costs. In addition, to the extent possible reliance would be placed on local capacity and existing institutions, and technical assistance would be provided under the project and through the TAP to strengthen the capacity of these institutions. Finally, in designing the project all feasible steps were taken to ensure local ownership - a critical aspect of sustainability.

Environmental Aspects. The proposed project has been placed in environmental screening category "B" consistent with the provisions of Operational Directive 4.01, "Environmental Assessment." Proposed sector programs have been subject to field-based review by Bank and consultant environmental specialists. Currently there are no known project proposals whose implementation would require extensive land acquisition or result in involuntary resettlement. No known archaeological or historical sites would be affected by activities to be supported. Implementation of the proposed project would result in significant improvements in the management of water and wastewater in both the West Bank and Gaza. Because of past experiences, the project would not support construction of new wastewater treatment plants or sludge disposal facilities prior to a detailed environmental examination of the interventions in this area. Activities under the project would reduce the risk of pollution of the highly sensitive Gaza groundwater aquifer. Rehabilitation of the road network would include improvements to drainage, thus reducing flooding in municipalities and erosion; in addition, the resulting efficiencies in travel operations would reduce air pollution. All activities would be subject to environmental review by the environmental specialist in the PMO of PECDAR, Palestinian Environmental Protection Authority and IDA during final design. Environmental mitigation and monitoring measures would be included as appropriate. Under the complementary TAP, institutional development programs would be funded to support development of the Palestinian environmental and cultural resources management authorities, including the preparation of environmental assessment procedures and an environmental monitoring system.

Poverty Category. The proposed project would directly and positively impact the poor through the creation of a significant number of low-skilled employment opportunities in construction (para. 11), and through the improvement of basic infrastructural services serving low income families.

Benefits. The project would have a particularly positive impact on employment: an estimated 10,000 man-years of direct employment in construction would be created. Further, by helping to improve the delivery of essential infrastructural services, the project would provide other significant and widespread social and economic benefits. Specifically, it would help: improve public health and education services; protect and conserve sensitive and limited water resources, and reduce the losses due to network inadequacies and inefficient utility operations; make a start in improving roads, reducing traffic congestion, travel time, and vehicle operating costs; and improve the general quality of life for broad segments of the population as well as overall economic efficiencies. The project would also help build consumer and investor confidence, strengthen local institutions, and open up opportunities for private sector participation and development through consulting, contracting, and manufacturing inputs. The benefits would accrue to virtually all residents of the OT, and particularly to low income families in Gaza and in the camps and villages.

Risks. The project faces considerable risks, many of which cannot be avoided. These risks fall into three broad categories: (a) Political Risks: the success of the project requires stability in the OT, steady progress in the bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and a maturation of internal political processes. Instability and/or Israeli/Palestinian negotiation delays could significantly slow activities which depend on their outcome and increase project costs. (b) Managerial and Technical Risks: Effective and timely implementation of the project requires the early consolidation of PECDAR, including the appointment of key staff; the early establishment of efficient operating systems and procedures and the appointment of key consultants. (c) Program Risks: ERP is designed to support EAP, thus implementation of program activities with a questionable technical or economic merit could undermine donor confidence and hence program and project viability. Furthermore, the capacity of the local consulting and contracting industry and the extent of foreign contractor interest is not known with precision, and contracting bottlenecks could delay implementation. Political risks would be significant and difficult to manage. On the other hand, success in providing tangible benefits to the Palestinian population through EAP and ERP could be expected to help consolidate the peace agreement. Managerial and technical risks would be minimized by providing technical assistance to ensure that PECDAR is established on a sound operational basis (the latter being a condition of Board presentation), by allocating as much responsibility as possible to existing institutions and supporting these institutions with competent local consultants. Program risks would be minimized by establishing effective project selection, screening and review mechanisms in PMO, and by employing competent local and foreign consultants to weed out badly conceived or designed sub-projects. Also, the project has been specifically designed to permit flexibility during implementation, including the restructuring of key components if necessary. Finally, risks would be minimized by establishing appropriate monitoring, reporting and control mechanisms, intensive IDA support during the first year and a half of PECDAR operations, and by formal, half-yearly joint project reviews.



Contact Point:

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Note: This is information based on an evolving project. Certain components may not necessarily be included in the final project.

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