Unlike many of the humanitarian agencies, UNDP has invested less in the direct, humanitarian focused response, though we are part of the special humanitarian task team, and more on the medium and longer term impact of the pandemic on the socio-economic recovery, with as first initiative the creation of a recovery team in support of the inter-ministerial task force in the Prime Minister’s office.
So, on Mondays and Thursdays my day starts with a meeting with the Heads of Agencies, led by the Resident Coordinator dialling in colleagues from Gaza, to take stock of the situation and discuss the way forward. Resources have been allocated from the pooled Humanitarian fund to meet the most important humanitarian needs, and UNDP has received US$750,000 to buy a second industrial microwave to help with the treatment of medical waste in Gaza, something already very much needed before the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, but even more important now.
Once that meeting concludes, I run to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup and immediately go back to my computer to meet with the UNDP management team, something we do on a weekly basis. Aside from the normal agenda items, such as project implementation, delivery, audit follow-up, etc. the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has started to take up a lot of our time. This meeting we discuss our ongoing response in Gaza, our support to the Palestinian government and the bright minds we are recruiting to support their rolling out of the recovery plan. Once satisfied, we all agree on the way forward, I take a moment to check and reply to the most urgent emails, and get ready to join the weekly call with the Director of the Regional Bureau, and the Resident Representatives and the Deputies of our Region. This always proves a good moment to better understand the corporate direction of UNDP in the crisis, to get an update of the ongoing discussions at the highest level in New York, to exchange with other Country Offices and to ensure that our local information feeds into the corporate thinking and vice versa.