The present report, submitted in compliance with General Assembly resolution 66/118, contains an assessment of the assistance received by the Palestinian people, needs still unmet and proposals for responding to them. This report describes efforts made by the United Nations, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, donors and civil society, to support the Palestinian population and institutions. The reporting period is from May 2011 to April 2012. During that period the Palestinian Authority completed its two-year State-building programme. The United Nations enhanced its support to those efforts through its Medium-Term Response Plan. The United Nations is currently executing $1.2 billion of works under that plan and is seeking an additional $1.7 billion for planned works. This complements the humanitarian programming outlined in the 2012 Consolidated Appeal of $416.7 million, of which 38 per cent has been funded as of April 2012.
Despite some diplomatic progress between the Israelis and Palestinians in early 2012, the parties have been unable to resume negotiations. The absence of a political horizon that would match progress in the Palestinian State-building agenda remains a fundamental obstacle to further progress. Settlement activity, demolitions of Palestinian property, and displacement increased in 2011. Prospects for elections and for establishing a Palestinian unity government of technocrats remained uncertain, despite limited progress in the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.
Significant economic growth was realized over the reporting period. It was primarily led by public expenditure in the West Bank and construction in Gaza. Trade sectors of the economy were most affected by the restrictions on movement and access and low levels of investment, especially in Gaza, bringing into question the sustainability of recent growth. Unemployment and food insecurity declined, but remained high, particularly in Gaza and Area C of the West Bank.
Over the reporting period, the United Nations intensified its efforts to respond to those and other challenges, focusing particularly on the areas where the Palestinian Authority was least able to extend its services: Gaza, and Area C and East Jerusalem of the West Bank. The United Nations worked at scale on reconstruction in Gaza, having received approval for US$ 365 million of projects requiring material that needs to be approved by the Government of Israel. The Palestinian Authority-United Nations Trust Fund was used to channel US$ 22 million for the construction of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools and would serve as an appropriate channel for the United Nations recovery and development work throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.