Gaza Strip, 09 October 2018 – Over 100 civil society representatives, UN and donor officials convened in Gaza for the “Civil Society Organizations - Solving Challenges, Moving Forward” conference organized by UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. The conference aimed at highlighting the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in response to the development challenges in the Gaza Strip, discuss identified bottlenecks and propose responsive programmatic solutions.
Opening remarks were made by Dr Mona Al Farra, representing CSOs in Gaza, and UNDP Deputy Special Representative Mr Geoffrey Prewitt. The conference featured three topical discussions with a number of leading partners to debate the status of development in Gaza; challenges and opportunities for CSOs in Gaza; and the enabling environment for CSOs to deliver quality services.
In addition to presenting the Palestinian Non-governmental Organizations Network’s (PNGO) policy paper on challenges facing CSOs, speakers at the conference also presented case studies depicting the European Union’s approach to supporting CSOs, a regional perspective on CSOs role in shaping more inclusive societies, and women’s organizations. Attending CSO representatives were also given the opportunity to present their own analysis of challenges and propose solutions that are best positioned to serve the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Those participating in the conference agreed that, going forward, a coherent approach is needed, based on the recommendations made, to support CSOs, national and international stakeholders develop an engagement strategy for CSOs’ work in the Gaza Strip.
The discussion at the conference was attended by Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt; Mr Issam Younis, Commissioner General of the Independent Commission for Human Rights; Dr Mona Al Farra, Director of Middle East Children's Alliance; Mr Hamdi Shaqoura, Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council; Mr Amjad Shawa, Manager of PNGO; Ms Amal Siyam, Director of Women’s Affairs Centre; Mr Samir Zaqout, Deputy Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights; Mr Tomas Niklasson, Deputy Head of EU Delegation; Ms Tomoko Vazeer, UNDP Regional Office; and UNDP Deputy Special Representative Mr Geoffrey Prewitt, in addition to over 100 civil society representatives and local and international partners.