JERUSALEM, January 20 (JMCC) - The United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, also known as OCHA
, announced on Wednesday that $575 million is the figure needed for projects planned in 2011.
The announcement was made at the launch of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for 2011. This annual strategy to address the “protection and assistance” needs of Palestinians is a collaboration of projects by local and international NGOs and UN agencies.
A MINIMUM FIGURE
“$575 million is a minimum figure,” said OCHA Humanitarian Coordinator Maxwell Gaylard at the launch. “That represents only a fraction of the humanitarian development and recovery needs of Palestinians”.
Many Palestinians in Gaza
and the West Bank
continue to live in tough conditions. Gaza has absolute poverty levels of approximately 20 percent and poverty and nutritional issues are of real concern in the Israeli-controlled area C of the West Bank and in the “seam zone”- the area between the Green Line and the Wall
Israel has constructed in the West Bank.
Growing poverty levels in East Jerusalem
are also of major concern, said Gaylard.
It is these areas that the CAP 2011 focuses on. Over half the requested funds are going to Gaza. The strategy includes 213 projects: 147 from local NGOs and 66 from UN agencies. The areas focused on include agriculture, cash for work, education, food security, health and nutrition, protection and water and sanitation.
The figures are worrying. Of the United Nation’s missions across the globe, the occupied Palestinians territories comes in fifth in terms of humanitarian funding needs - behind Sudan, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan.
“A humanitarian appeal for Palestinians should not be at all necessary,” said Gaylard. The reasons behind it are “man-made, political,” he highlighted.
The CAP report says that “At the end of 2010, the situation in the OPT is one of on-going political stalemate, regular exposure to violence, continuing restrictions on access of movement, and consistent human rights violations.”
It is this very stalemate that may cause the CAP to fail. Getting the necessary funds, says Gaylard, is ever more difficult. Generating continual donor interest in a conflict that is so protracted is a challenge. This factor, coupled with the global economic crisis make the prospects of reaching the needed $575 million poor, say experts. Last year’s CAP appeal for $603 million went only half funded.
“Not a day goes by when I am not on the road talking to donors [in the effort to raise funds],” says Gaylard. “I have just returned from a six-day mission in the Gulf, I am going to Europe, and I will do the Americans a week or two after that.”
But the bleak outlook is not lost on OCHA. “I have already tipped off the global relief coordinator at the New York head quarters that we will need help, and, to be frank we are rely on the media to support our effort to raise funds,” said Gaylard.
This year, efforts are underway to raise funds through “non-traditional” donors – bodies with assets to contribute but without a representative on the ground, added OCHA’s Head of Office Ramesh Rajasingham.