The recent conflict in Gaza has been devastating for the civilian population, with about one quarter of inhabitants (475,000 people) now displaced from their homes by the fighting. Artillery, airstrikes and ground-level combat have caused large-scale destruction of Gaza’s social and economic infrastructure. The conflict, as well as destroying thousands of homes, has also levelled businesses and other productive assets, hospitals, schools, electricity generation facilities, in addition to water and sewage treatment systems.
The severe humanitarian toll of these hostilities comes against a backdrop of close to a decade of heightened vulnerability and recurring crises in Gaza that continue to exacerbate poverty and inequality.
The urgent need for immediate life-saving assistance, recovery and rebuilding activities need to begin in earnest to ensure that humanitarian efforts can translate into short, mid and long-term strategies for recovery and resilience.
UNDP Recovery Strategy
UNDP’s two year recovery programme is integrated into the Palestinian Recovery Strategy. It aims to create conditions for enhancing resilience and sustainable development, while building on both prior and current UNDP engagement in the Gaza Strip.
Immediate priorities for UNDP include debris and rubble removal and recycling, solid waste management, and the repair of electricity, water and sewage infrastructure. Given the prevailing context, construction, the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the creation of jobs for affected people will be critical components of the programme.
The programme framework revolves around the following:
1. Infrastructure Assessment: UNDP will conduct a comprehensive infrastructure assessment to provide the Palestinian Government, UN agencies and partners with a broad platform for coordinating interventions and ensuring effectiveness.
2. Rubble removal and infrastructure: As both private and public buildings, as well as public infrastructure have been destroyed, the programme will build on UNDP’s long-standing experience in repairing infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. It is important to note that UNDP and UNRWA are currently the only institutions able to import building materials into Gaza, as per Israeli imposed restrictions.
3. Livelihoods: Enhancing livelihoods and helping people rebuild their lives is at the heart of this framework. In order to ease people’s suffering, restore dignity and build resilience, urgent measures are needed to generate income and employment to the poorest and most affected families. At the same time, long-term strategies for job diversification are needed to sustain any job growth that does occur.
4. Governance: The proposed programme recognizes the fact that in the aftermath of the current crisis, support will be needed to further build on political developments prior to the crisis, with a view to supporting the recently established government of national consensus and to strengthen national cohesion.