UNDP/PAPP works with the Palestinian government to protect the environment and to sustainably manage natural resources. Sustainable management of natural resources is essential for the livelihood and survival of communities and the very basis for national development. UNDP/PAPP has been working very closely with key Palestinian institutions at the national and local level to address the environmental issues and concerns and develop the needed infrastructure to control pollution and prevent degradation of natural resources. UNDP/PAPP also mainstreams and promotes climate change adaptation and mitigation to respond to the potentially increasing scarcity of natural resources and manage climate change associated risks.
One of the achievements of UNDP/PAPP’s work with regards to natural resources and climate change is the State of Palestine’s submission of the first national communication report to the UNFCCC in November 2016. The report, in addition to the national adaptation plan, enabled the Palestinian government to become an official member of the UNFCCC in March 2016, thus positioning it on the international scene, and opening new avenues for environment related financing in the future. UNDP/PAPP supported the Prime Minister’s office to lead the discussion and development of National legal and institutional frameworks for Disaster Risk Reduction. UNDP/PAPP also supported building the capacities of the Environment Quality Authority and six other ministries in climate change finance, adaption and mitigation. Over one million tons of accumulated rubble was also removed, enabling reconstruction efforts to take place. 700,000 families benefited from the programme and around 42,000 employment days were generated.
UNDP/PAPP is focusing on mainstreaming environment and climate change at the national level and integrating them into national policies and plans. UNDP/PAPP supports and cooperates with the related institutions at different levels to improve the regulatory roles and functions for the protection and sustainable management of natural resources. This includes developing the capacities of Palestinian State institutions and nongovernmental organisations on climate change issues, disaster risk management, development and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and improving environmental services.
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: Despite the fact that climate change (CC) and disaster risk management (DRM) are quite new areas for the Palestinian government, UNDP succeeded in building great momentum in mainstreaming CC and DRM issues and placing them on the Palestinian national agenda. CC and DRM are now major outputs of the national policy agenda (2018-2022) and priority 10: Resilient Communities where it has a specific output on “Sustainable Environment and Adapting to Climate Change”. Currently, UNDP/PAPP is working with the Environment Quality Authority to enhance its capacity to fulfil its role as the National Designated Authority to access and monitor climate change finance.
Solid waste management: Solid waste management continues to be a major programme. The solid waste management programme has development and emergency / humanitarian components. The development component is related to the expansion and rehabilitation of landfills in the Gaza Strip and in Jericho - West Bank, while the emergency one is related to the last Gaza hostilities and aims to create job opportunities through immediate support to primary solid waste collection. UNDP/PAPP is considered the main player in this sector, especially in the Gaza Strip. UNDP/PAPP will continue to work in this sector, with focus on medical waste management as one of the major environmental and public health risks facing Palestinian communities.
Water and sanitation: Access to water and sanitation remains a key priority. However, UNDP/PAPP’s focus is more on wastewater related issues such as conducting feasibility studies for wastewater management addressing the transboundary management and pollution issues, construction of collection systems and treatment plants, building the capacities of the local authorities and municipalities on water and wastewater management with focus on tariffs and cost recovery issues that are associated with the sustainability of the services. The construction of Khan Younis wastewater treatment plant, in the Gaza Strip, with a total fund of USD 56 million, remains the largest project UNDP is implementing in the sector.
The GEF/SGP: The Global Environment Facility/ Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) is a global programme that engages civil society organisations and supports local leadership to achieve global environmental sustainability and improve livelihoods of local and marginalised communities. UNDP/PAPP will continue to work with EQA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support the Palestinian Government’s access to global environmental funding mainly the GEF funding; especially after the Biological Diversity Convention entered into force for the State of Palestine on 02 April 2015.