The 2013 UNRWA Emergency Appeal in Gaza and the West Bank has three strategic priorities, which are common to both fields. They focus on preventing further deteriorations in food security; promoting, protecting and upholding the rights of refugees, including accessing services; and ensuring that UNRWA has sufficient capacity to effectively implement its emergency programmes. Through the Appeal, the Agency is requesting US$ 300,062,900 to cover the cost of emergency interventions in eight critical sectors: food assistance, cash assistance, job creation, community mental health, education, health, temporary shelter and shelter repair, and water and sanitation.
A key focus of UNRWA work in Gaza is increasing the coherence, efficiency, and equity of its emergency programming. We will accomplish this by further improving our ability to determine who is poor in an internally-coherent manner, streamlining two systems for poverty determination into one. This will increase the equity of UNRWA interventions for the poor, ensuring that all Palestine refugees at a given poverty level and family size are eligible for the same composition of assistance.
In the West Bank, UNRWA recently conducted an extensive review of its emergency programming. We will now implement the recommendations of this review to increase the relevance, effectiveness and results of our work, focusing on three key points. We will prioritize livelihood support and sustainable income-generation activities to improve our approach to unemployment and food insecurity; we will prioritize the delivery of key humanitarian activities, particularly among communities at risk of displacement, in Area C, East Jerusalem and the Seam Zone (areas between the Barrier and the 1949 Armistice Line, or Green Line); and we will stabilize critical programmes that were established as part of a temporary response to the humanitarian situation, but which are now essential during the implementation of Agency-wide reforms.
The current regional crisis, triggered by the ongoing armed conflict in Syria, is one of the most trying challenges UNRWA has faced since it was created to assist Palestine refugees after their original dispossession and dispersion throughout the region in 1948. The scale and the devastating humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Syria, however, continue to confound forecasts and planning scenarios; as needs escalate and ever-greater numbers of people, including Palestine refugees, are affected, humanitarian response plans and budgets only a few months old become inadequate.
The UNRWA Syria Crisis Response Plan for January-June 2013 appealed for a total of US$ 91,241,416 to support critical humanitarian assistance in the form of food, cash, household or winter items and health services in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. For the six-month period of July-December 2013, we require US$ 199,600,000, of which the majority, US$ 150,000,000, will be used within Syria. Of the remainder, US$ 44,700,000 will be used in Lebanon and US$ 4,300,000 in Jordan. We will use US$ 666,000 to support regional management and emergency response outside these three fields, including the provision of cash assistance to Palestine refugees from Syria in Gaza.
Thanks to the operational depth and breadth that the Agency has in its fields, made possible by over 13,000 area staff, many of whom are experienced in humanitarian assistance, UNRWA has been able to respond with speed and effectiveness to growing need. As they face the enormous challenges of the ongoing conflict, we support the resilience of the Palestine refugee community, and work to stem what they increasingly perceive as a downward spiral into an insecure and uncertain future.