تاريخ النشر: 2011/10/13
Analysis: Donor aid boosts West Bank infrastructure despite impediments
The West bank city of Ramallah is undergoing an upgrade to its infrastructure
29 July 2011 (IRIN) - West Bank infrastructure projects have increased
as a result of the Palestinian Authorityzzz*zs (PA) state-building efforts
and increased donor funding, although significant barriers to
implementation remain, report officials from Palestinian prime minister
Salam Fayyadzzz*zs office, PA ministries and donors.
Infrastructure, intertwined with economic development, is seen as
the backbone of a future state under the framework of the 2008
Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), the governmentzzz*zs
comprehensive effort to prepare for an independent Palestinian state by
The PA has succeeded in connecting almost all residential areas to
the electricity grid (99.8 percent of the population now connected),
repair thousands of kilometres of roads, as well as improve the water
and sanitation networks since 2008.
In Ramallah a year-long US$2.5 million "Rehabilitation of the City
Centre" project, funded by the PA and the municipality and ending in
August, will see upgrades to the cityzzz*zs water and electricity network,
roads and communications infrastructure. The project is in Area A, where
the PA has full control.
However, PA ministries say permits for project related construction and rehabilitation, particularly in Area C
are not forthcoming and projects are frequently destroyed by Israeli
authorities, hindering their ability to deliver essential public
Israel retains military authority and full control over the building
and planning sphere in Area C; 70 percent of the area is classified as a
firing zone, settlement areas, or nature reserves, and is inaccessible
to Palestinians; 60 percent of the West Bank is in Area C.
"Restrictions in Area C affect the total population," spokesperson
from Fayyadzzz*zs office Ghassan Khatib told IRIN. "For example, a proposed
Nablus sewage treatment plant between Nablus and Tulkarem is located in
Area C, but serves the Nablus population in Area A." Public
infrastructure like sewage and solid waste management facilities cannot
be located near population centres, making Area C the only option
available, say Palestinian officials.
The project has yet to be approved by the Israeli authorities after nearly 10 years of delay, said Khatib.
The PA has managed to close unsafe landfill sites and to create two
new landfills in the Tulkarem and Hebron governorates, with plans for a
Southern West Bank Landfill serving the Bethlehem and Hebron
governorates. "It took nearly eight years of negotiations with Israeli
authorities to obtain the necessary permission to access areas for the
landfills," said Khatib. Several more are urgently needed.
Ramallah, a sprawling urban centre in the West Bank, needs a new
landfill to serve its residents and 10 surrounding municipalities, said
Ramallah Municipality spokesperson Maha Shihadeh. "The population is too
close to the dumping site, and it must be moved to avoid potential
Officials from the PA ministry of planning and administrative development (MoPAD
) say infrastructure and services must be adapted to the geography imposed by occupation, despite the high cost.
Areas A and B are not contiguous, so many projects like roads and
utility networks extend into Area C, less than 1 percent of which has
been planned for Palestinian development by the Israeli Civil
Administration, reports the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
In the first half of 2011, 342 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in Area C by Israeli authorities, according to OCHA
, while over 3,000 demolition orders are outstanding.
it has approved a greater number of PA infrastructure projects over the
last year aiming to upgrade Palestinian water and sewage
infrastructure, agriculture, and the electricity network.
Increased donor funding
An increase in donor funded development projects since 2008 prompted
the PA planning ministry to develop an aid information management
system, DARP, an inclusive database that currently contains about 1,500
ongoing or completed donor funded projects in the occupied Palestinian
territory (oPt), including projects from Arab donors.
Over the past 20 years the PA received about US$20 billion in donor
funds, $7.7 billion of which came in the last three years, according to a
senior planning ministry official.
OPt, with a population of about 4.1 million (2.5 million in the West
Bank and about 1.6 million in Gaza) had a gross domestic product (GDP)
of $7 billion in 2010. Net official development assistance to oPt was
$2.5 billion in 2010, which amounts to 36 percent of GDP, reports the
In 2010 about $1.148 billion of the assistance went to budget
support; about $755 million to development projects from Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD donors;
and about $585 million was for humanitarian projects, including the UN
Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) general fund for the West Bank and Gaza
and the UN-NGO Consolidated Appeals Process, according to the planning
A recent report by aid watchdog Development Initiatives
said humanitarian aid to oPt in 2009 was $1.3 billion, making it the second largest recipient in the world.
Project implementation challenges
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its $300 million Infrastructure Needs Program
in 2008, including construction and rehabilitation of roads, water and
wastewater systems, schools, and other required facilities as the PA
prepares for its role in a future Palestinian state.
Major challenges USAID faces include "protracted GOI [Government of
Israel] approvals to transport materials and equipment into the West
Bank," and "Delays in PWA [Palestinian Water Authority] land acquisition
for funded projects."
USAID declined to comment on these development challenges.
The European Union (EU), the main donor and partner to the PA,
supports a number of major public infrastructure programmes in the areas
of transportation, electricity, water access, wastewater treatment and
solid waste management.
After addressing urgent needs linked to rehabilitation of the
Palestinian basic infrastructure from 2005 to 2010 (total $166.6
million), the EU is focusing on sector-concentrated interventions, said
John Gatt-Rutter, deputy head of the EU Delegation in Jerusalem.
In 2011, the EU expects to invest $31.5 million in the water and
sanitation sector. "We are implementing our projects in a total
partnership with the PA," said Gatt-Rutter, and "we do use our contacts
with the Israeli government to try to facilitate the implementation of
About 43 percent of donor assistance to the Palestinians is from the
EU and EU member countries; about 25 percent from the USA and its
agencies; about 25 percent from Arab countries and their agencies; and
about 7 percent from other donors, like Australia, Japan, Canada and
Norway, says the planning ministry official.
Quartet coordination efforts
Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR
) Tony Blair continuously negotiates with Israeli officials to try and coordinate donor projects.
"Part of the OQRzzz*zs work is helping to facilitate infrastructure
projects, most of which are donor funded, that are fulfilling the
requirements of PM Fayyadzzz*zs state building Plan [PRDP]," a spokesperson
from the OQR Jerusalem office told IRIN.
"Itzzz*zs not just about political negotiations; there must be progress
on the ground as well for Palestinians to realize improvement in their
day-to-day lives," he said.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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