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The eleven days of hostilities in May 2021 in Gaza resulted in the loss of more than 260 people, including 66 children and 41 women, and exacerbated previous trauma especially among children. The human toll has been compounded by the overall damage and loss suffered by the social, infrastructural, productive and financial sectors. A Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) reveals up to $ 380 million in physical damage and $ 190 million in economic loss. Recovery needs have been estimated at US $ 485 million during the first 24 months.
The Gaza RDNA was conducted between May 25 and June 25, 2021 in partnership between the World Bank Group, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) immediately after the cessation of hostilities and in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and in consultation with civil society and the private sector in Gaza. Although the RDNA estimates are preliminary, they are essential for identifying priority interventions.
“This is yet another unfortunate episode in which the Palestinian people of Gaza have seen themselves in the midst of conflict and destruction. The humanitarian crisis is worsening in an economy with very limited links with the outside world. Gaza’s GDP could contract by 0.3% in 2021, compared to an estimated annual growth of 2.5% before the conflict. With this assessment, we hope to mobilize donor support to help restore dignified living conditions and livelihoods in Gaza, and pave the way for recovery.Said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza.
The recent hostilities have done more damage to already faltering socio-economic conditions. Palestinians in Gaza have suffered the cumulative costs, human and economic, of recurrent hostilities over the past three decades, as well as prolonged restrictions on the movement of people and goods at border crossings, limits on fishing off the coast of the coast of Gaza, and now the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaza’s alarming unemployment rate is around 50% and more than half of its population lives in poverty. After the hostilities in May, 62% of Gaza’s population was food insecure.
According to the RDNA, the estimated value of the physical damage caused by the conflict ranged between $ 290 million and $ 380 million. The social sectors were the most affected (140 to 180 million dollars), accounting for more than half of the total damage. Housing alone accounts for nearly 93% of total damage to social sectors. The second most affected sectors are the productive and financial sectors, led by agriculture and services, trade and industry.
The conflict generated economic losses (interruption of economic flows, production and services) ranging from 105 to 190 million dollars. Once again, the social sectors were the most affected with around 87% of the losses caused by the additional costs of health and social protection and unemployment. The conflict has significantly weakened the livelihoods and safety nets of the most vulnerable.
“The cessation of hostilities last month has largely held up but remains fragile. The United Nations is continuing its diplomatic commitments with all parties concerned to consolidate the ceasefire. In the meantime, we are also ensuring that we do all we can to meet the most urgent needs that would enable the Palestinians in Gaza to begin the recovery process as quickly as possible. This DNA is an important step in this process. I appeal to the international community to unite to support these efforts.Said Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
The Gaza RDNA promotes the Building-Back-Better approach in Gaza, focusing on rebuilding a more resilient and climate-friendly economy and infrastructure and on people’s ability to absorb shocks, as well as on improving the standard of living and living. Vulnerabilities that may have contributed to the impact of conflict should, to the extent possible, be addressed during recovery and rehabilitation, enabling affected communities to manage and mitigate future risks. Recommended actions range from meeting immediate and future needs, such as restoring inclusive, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable infrastructure, adopting stronger social protection measures and implementing targeted policy reforms.
Immediate and short-term recovery and reconstruction needs (in the first 24 months) are estimated at US $ 345-485 million, with needs estimated at US $ 345-485 million, of which US $ 125-195 million. immediate (by the end of 2021) and $ 220-290 million short-term (6-24 months). The priorities aim to ensure a return to a certain normalcy by providing rapid relief, repairing priority damage to infrastructure and restoring essential services disrupted by the conflict, to be restored at least to pre-conflict levels, if not beyond. .
Critical recovery needs include providing cash assistance to approximately 45,000 people for food and non-food assistance, creating an additional 20,000 full-time jobs for 12 months, and prioritizing housing needs for over 4,000. destroyed or partially damaged people who numbered around 7,000 children in families who lost their homes. Early interventions are needed to improve food production in agribusiness and fisheries and rehabilitate physical assets. In addition, financial support is needed to rebuild badly damaged micro and small businesses that provide services, goods and jobs to communities, with an emphasis on sustainable techniques that save energy and water.
“The civilian casualties and the devastating socio-economic impact of this series of hostilities remind us once again that we must address the root causes of the conflict. Gaza’s recovery must be supported by a meaningful peace process that will bring safety and dignity to all. While we recognize the importance of the RDNA exercise, the sustainability of Gaza’s recovery will depend very much on the advancement of the political process and a negotiated solution. Palestinian unity and democratic renewal through free and fair elections are also of crucial importance,”Said Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, EU representative.
Beyond the immediate and short-term reconstruction period, systematic political efforts are needed to support the recovery. This includes the construction by the Palestinian Authority of a sustainable governance system and the creation of an enabling environment for private sector-led growth and the modernization of Israel’s services in Karm Abu Salem. Support for job creation programs for men and women is needed to start with 20,000 full-time jobs for 12 months as well as digital skills training to access the global digital value chain and overcome the geographic isolation. Other areas include water reuse for agriculture, renewable energy, expansion of health facilities and services, and improving the quality of education and reducing learning gaps. . Mechanisms to ensure the protection of women, youth and refugees are particularly important.
The World Bank Group, the UN and the EU are committed to providing essential support to the Palestinian people and ensuring a swift and reliable recovery, noting that the swift short-term recovery will depend on financial support, including donors, as well as Israel’s cooperation in accelerating access to materials and equipment for civilian use.