UNDP promoting civic engagement among young people and encouraging students to participate in school governance

UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) has played a significant role in supporting governance since its inception in the occupied Palestinian territory from 1978. In responding to the Government’s National Policy Agenda “Citizens’ First” and in line with the 2030 Agenda’s commitment to “leave no one behind,” UNDP/PAPP will focus on supporting an inclusive social contract. For an inclusive social contract, the aspirations and expectations of people and the capacity of state and non-state actors have to meet.  

In 2016, UNDP/PAPP, through the Sawasya joint programme with UN Women, provided legal assistance to over 4,500 people from East Jerusalem and 3,500 in Gaza, including support in legal representation and legal consultations. Another milestone was the establishment of a national legal aid system that will enable all citizens, especially the most vulnerable, who need legal aid to have access to justice and courts. As part of its resilience programming, UNDP supported the institutionalization of government engagement on Area C by supporting the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office in strengthening its mandate over communities in Area C, including East Jerusalem. In addition, UNDP/PAPP facilitated the establishment of the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency to provide expertise and knowledge in support of other countries. Capacity support to justice and law enforcement institutes including developing e-tools for complaints, reviewing legislation, and access to treaties was also provided; in addition to establishing a specialized Juvenile court and adopting a gender strategy for the Palestinian civil police.

As part of its support to institution development, UNDP is reintroducing the TOKTEN Palestinian programme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. TOKTEN, Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals, started as a modality for technical cooperation in the occupied Palestinian territory in September 1994. Since its inception, the programme has proven to be one of the most successful human resource mobilization projects. The TOKTEN Programme has added significance for the Palestinians and was able to tap into the diverse and outstanding human resources of more than 10 million Palestinians residing abroad.

UNDP is constructing a data bank which will have information about the Palestinian Diaspora, including experts who are ready to contribute to Palestinian development efforts. The TOKTEN Programme will be the tool to facilitate their contribution. Through the TOKTEN Palestinian Programme, UNDP will recruit highly skilled expatriate female and male Palestinian professionals to serve as short-term volunteers (3 weeks to 3 months), thereby providing top level technical expertise, policy advice and research to numerous Palestinian institutions including ministries, universities, research centres, NGOs as well as private sector organizations.

For those interested in becoming a TOKTEN Kindly send your C.V. to

Strategic Priorities

UNDP/PAPP’s Governance and Social Development portfolio focuses on the following four areas of work: National Unity and Social Cohesion; Rule of Law and Human Rights; Responsive and Accountable Institutions: and Inclusive Political and Accountability Processes.  In addressing those four areas, UNDP will target particularly vulnerable groups identified by the UN Common Country Assessment, e.g. children subject to violence, women exposed to gender-based violence, communities in Area C, persons with disabilities, etc.

National Unity and Social Cohesion: Under this work area, UNDP/PAPP will address mending the Palestinian social fabric, affected by internal political and geographical division. UNDP/PAPP’s programme in this area will be further developed in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 10 (Reduced Inequality) and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Rule of Law and Human Rights:  UNDP/PAPP promotes the rule of law and human rights protection in the oPt through a UN joint programme called Sawasya. The joint programme, launched in May 2014, takes a holistic approach that targets the entire sector. It works on capacity development of duty-bearers and empowerment of rights-holders. This means that it works on improving service delivery by building resilient justice and security institutions, whilst at the same time improving the public’s ability to access such services and hold duty-bearers to account. The Sawasya programme is built on partnership: it is a joint programme among UNDP/PAPP, UNICEF and UN Women, supported by the United Kingdom, European Union, the Netherlands, Sweden and UNDP/PAPP.  The programme has been implemented with five justice sector institutions, 29 CSOs in the West Bank and Gaza and one academic institution. The Sawasya Programme will continue to 2022 in realising the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly 5 (Gender Equality) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Responsive and Accountable Institutions: This programme area supports the foundation for the delivery of core government functions targeting SDG Goal 16. In considering that the transparent delivery of services and economic development will enhance trust in the government, UNDP/PAPP has provided substantial strategic support to local governance and development throughout the years in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG). As for Public Administration, UNDP/PAPP strengthened civil service management in partnership with the General Personnel Council. It contributed to develop a National Strategic Plan for Civil Service for 2017-2022. UNDP/PAPP further supports advancing the Palestinian Government’s vision of solidarity through development. The Palestinian Government established the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) in order to provide technical assistance to developing countries in promoting South-South Cooperation and to serve as a public diplomacy tool. UNDP/PAPP, in partnership with ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO will also address institutional development aspects for people with disabilities in coming future.  

Inclusive Political and Accountability Processes: The work stream enhances citizen voice, strengthens processes for citizen participation and accountability in line with SDG 16.  In this area, UNDP/PAPP will assess opportunities in providing support to electoral processes, Legislative Council’s capacity development, civic engagement, CSOs capacity development particularly in advocacy, and media development.   

Resilience Building: While resilience response is factored throughout UNDP/PAPP’s programming, the Community Resilience and Development programme aims at strengthening the resilience of Palestinians living in Area C and East Jerusalem to enable them to remain on their land and safeguard their livelihoods. The programme is implemented by a wide array of partners, including communities, grassroots organizations, local and international NGOs, according to locally designed plans. It focuses on improving public and social infrastructure, access to and protection of natural resources, enhancing economic opportunities and upholding the rights of Palestinian citizens.

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