Sustainable development and COVID-19
In addition to the public health and humanitarian implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has delivered a negative shock to Palestinian socioeconomic development, putting at risk public welfare, employment and livelihoods, poverty and food security, social cohesion, financial and fiscal stability, and institutions. There is little doubt that the COVID-19 emergency threatens progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and on the 2030 Agenda in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and is exacerbating and deepening pre-existing inequalities, discrimination, and inequities. This document presents the COVID-19 Development System Response Plan for the United Nations Country Team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to support the Government’s efforts to address socioeconomic recovery in the short- to medium-term. This planning process has been centred on people—especially the most vulnerable—and was done in close coordination with the Government of Palestine and in alignment with guidance received from the Secretary-General, UNSDG, and UNDCO, placing at its core the fundamental human rights, voices, and agency of people. Implementation will be carried out in cooperation with the Government of Palestine, development partners, Palestinian civil society, private sector, and international agencies operating in Palestine.
The document establishes a framework for organizing the UNCT’s development work over the next 12 to 18 months to respond specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a view of the longer-term impact of the crisis and its multidimensional effects. This plan is not meant to replace or supersede UN support to Palestine in other areas not covered by this plan. It is intended to be an interim, regularly-updated framework that is flexible, targeted, and suited to a rapidly-changing environment.
Recognizing the challenging donor environment, the UNCT endeavoured to reprogram as much existing funding as possible to the COVID-19 response. To maximize efficiency and impact, the UNCT has also worked collaboratively to identify joint programming and to focus on the highest priority interventions. The UNCT intends to implement US$140.6 million in COVID-19 development response programming in the next 12 to 18 months, of which 66 percent is already funded through existing or reprogrammed resources. In addition to the US$140.6 million in direct programming, UNCT has also identified an additional US$45 million in “scalable” support programmes for affected households and SMEs, comprising a portfolio of Cash for Work programmes, Cash Transfer Programmes, microfinance and revolving loan support, and direct support to smallholder agricultural producers.
These support programmes can be rapidly scaled up should additional donor support be forthcoming.
Geographic scope of UNCT support. The development system response plan targets the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). In addition, given the disproportionate needs and vulnerabilities generated by the protracted humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip, some activities are specifically tailored to address the impact of the pandemic there. Gaza-specific activities are approximately one-quarter of the total budgeted support