The Government of Sweden, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People signed a contribution agreement worth SEK 50 million (US$ 5.7 million) in support of Gaza’s early recovery efforts following the May 2021 hostilities.
The Gaza Early Recovery Programme aims to restore access to essential services, decent livelihoods for the Gaza population and ensuring safe housing and living conditions for internally displaced and vulnerable non-refugee and refugee households whose homes have been destroyed or damaged as a result of the hostilities.
Through the Swedish support, the programme will provide urgent assistance to the most vulnerable households in the Gaza Strip by securing much-needed job opportunities and providing shelter support for refugees and non-refugees.
Informed by the economic and infrastructure damage assessments carried out by UNDP following the May 2021 hostilities, the programme will focus on four key components, namely debris management, Temporary Shelter Cash Assistance (TSCA), immediate partial rehabilitation of housing and short-term dignified jobs for livelihood restoration.
“This really is a great example of partnership between UN agencies working as one to serve the people of Gaza and made possible by the leadership and support of SIDA,” said Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, Mr Thomas White.
Through this generous Swedish contribution, the programme will create dignified short-term job opportunities for 525 people and provide access to e-work opportunities to another 120 youth in Gaza. In addition, 1,000 refugee families who were displaced from their dwellings during the May 2021 hostilities will receive support in the form of Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance through UNRWA. Taking into consideration family size and current socio-economic status, the programme will prioritize women-headed households and persons with disabilities and provide them with cash assistance to address their accommodation needs.
The programme embodies a strong Humanitarian/Development/Peace (HDP) Nexus approach. The funding to the Gaza Early Recovery Programme would allow the operationalization of this approach by responding to most acute needs in a way that fosters early recovery and strengthens the resilience of the conflict-affected people in the Gaza Strip. More specifically, supporting livelihood and income restoration for affected people would prevent them from falling into poverty and multi-dimensional deprivation, while simultaneously reducing reliance on TSCA.
UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Yvonne Helle, highlighted that the May hostilities had significantly disrupted people’s lives and exacerbated already dire socio-economic conditions. “UNDP is committed to making a difference and improving the living conditions of the Gaza population. The contribution from Sweden will create much-needed job opportunities, strengthen the resilience of the Gaza population and help restore their lives and livelihoods,” she added.
The signing ceremony, which took place on Tuesday 07 December 2021 was attended by Göran Paulsson, Head of Sweden’s Development Cooperation, Deputy Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Kate O’Rourk,e and Yvonne Helle, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestine refugees who lost both their homes and livelihood because of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and in need of significant support for over seventy years. UNRWA helps them achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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