A new report released today by the UN Country Team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) focuses on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups among Palestinians and the development constraints they face. The Common Country Analysis (CCA) report identifies 20 groups who are at high risk of being ‘left behind’ in Palestine’s development trajectory and analyzes the factors driving their vulnerability.
As the Israeli occupation enters its 50th year, development in Palestine is constrained by a multitude of factors, ranging from restrictions on movement, and inequitable access to resources, to reduced policy autonomy of the Palestinian government. The report identifies the Israeli occupation as contributing directly to poverty, unemployment, and a prolonged humanitarian crisis. In the spirit of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, or 2030 Agenda, the CCA places the most vulnerable groups at the core of the UN’s development and funding planning, in conjunction with the Palestinian National Policy Agenda.
“The mere fact of living under occupation for five decades has left Palestinians from all walks of life disadvantaged or vulnerable in some way. They are denied the autonomy and rights that much of the world enjoys”, said Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the OPT. “Ending the occupation is thus the primary development enabler”, he added. “But even then, there are some groups of Palestinians that are clearly falling behind – and these groups need to be at the heart of the UN’s development efforts”.
Vulnerability, the report finds, “is in part a function of one or more structural factors, including restricted economic access, location or place of residence, institutional and governance factors, socio-cultural norms, attitudes and exposure to violence.” Some elements of these drivers are intimately linked to the occupation, the report indicates, while others are less so.
The CCA focuses on 20 groups who are among those that are systematically at a greater disadvantage than other Palestinians, such as children facing obstacles in accessing schools, refugees residing in camps and Bedouins and herder communities in Area C. The analysis calls for policy makers’ and development partners’ concerted efforts to address the structural drivers of their vulnerability.
“Our joint development efforts need to be measured by the kinds of sustained improvements we are able to deliver in the lives of these and other especially-vulnerable groups over the coming years”, Mr. Piper stated. “This is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals and their call to Leave No One Behind” he added.
The United Nations’ (UN) next five-year development plan, the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Palestine is currently under development, building on the analysis in the report released today.