UN, PA call on international community to fund $547m. in humanitarian projects

This announcement marks the fifteenth consecutive year that OCHA and the PA have teamed up to make a funding appeal to the international community.

December 20, 2016 00:14
2 minute read.

A Palestinian refugee knocks on the closed gate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters with his walking stick. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities (OCHA) and the Palestinian Authority Social Development Ministry announced a joint appeal to the international community on Monday to fund $547 million in humanitarian projects in the Palestinian territories.

“This humanitarian funding appeal seeks to give a hand to the most vulnerable, the worst affected among Palestinian households across the whole occupied territory,” Robert Piper, the OCHA Coordinator, told a press conference in Bethlehem on Monday.

OCHA and the PA plan to use the funds they collect to enable 82 NGOs and 13 UN agencies to implement 243 projects pertaining to health and nutrition, food security, shelter, water, education and protection.

In total, it is estimated that the projects, if fully funded, will benefit some 1.6 million people out of the two million identified as in need of humanitarian assistance.

Seventy percent of the projects will be executed in the Gaza Strip, where OCHA and the Palestinian Authority believe humanitarian needs are the highest because of the ongoing closure of the small coastal enclave, recent wars and the division between Hamas and Fatah.

Piper added that while he believes humanitarian assistance is important, ultimately it will not be enough.

“International support is critical to continue providing relief to vulnerable Palestinians, but we are just trying to buy time – this humanitarian response must be coupled with bold political action to bring the world’s most protracted protection crisis to a close,” Piper said.

In his statement at the press conference, Palestinian Authority Social Development Minister Ibrahim Shaer echoed Piper’s remarks, saying that “ending the occupation is vital to moving forward so we no longer need to be producing humanitarian appeals.”

This announcement marks the fifteenth consecutive year that OCHA and the PA have teamed up to make a funding appeal to the international community.

In 2015, OCHA and the Palestinian Authority appealed for $571m., but succeeded in fund-raising less than half of their goal, garnering only $268m.

In an email to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Piper identified three factors that explain the discrepancy between the amount appealed for and amount fund-raised.

“First, humanitarian funding has been tight around the world, with the sheer number and intensity of crises requiring help. Second, donors expected Palestine’s humanitarian needs to drop faster than they actually have, two years after the 2014 conflict. Third, UNRWA’s growing annual funding gap for its core operations also appears to have been filled, at least in part, by the same humanitarian funding sources that previously financed the appeal,” Piper said.

More generally, the Palestinian Authority has also faced substantial decreases in international funding over the past few years.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the PA is facing an “financial siege” because international aid decreased by more than 70% in 2016 relative to three years prior, in a statement

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