About the Practice
Energy and Environment
Today, World Environment Day, is a reminder to us all to treat our planet better and lighten our carbon footprint. Climate change is a threat to everyone. But without action, the brunt of the impact would be felt by poor and vulnerable people in developing countries. With little capacity to cope, many more would become malnourished and in some circumstances struggle to find water, and even be displaced. This highlights just how intertwined the tasks of addressing climate change, reducing global poverty, and reaching the Millennium Development Goals are. More
Statement by Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP On the Occasion of World Environment Day - 5 June 2009
A sound energy and environmental policy is fundamental for sustainable development. Since 1979, more than one third of UNDP/PAPP resources have been invested in supporting environmental preservation and development programmes particularly in the water and sanitation sectors. Assistance has been extended to a wide range of capacity building, institutional strengthening and infrastructure development activities aimed at sound environmental management and sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Considerable support in this has been provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which helps developing countries fund projects and programmes that protect the global environment.
Water availability is scarce in the region and present supplies barely meet the needs of the Palestinian people. 13% of the population do not have access to a supply of running water and many of the existing water facilities are dilapidated. Water quality particularly in the Gaza Strip is very poor to the extent that only 7% of the water supplied for domestic use meets international and World Health Organization standards. Similarly, wastewater collection is insufficient and even non-existent in some rural areas and treatment facilities are limited and often do not function properly. The waste water situation can lead to serious contamination of precious water resources and can have a negative impact on public health, marine and coastal biodiversity. Other major environmental problems include land erosion, declining bio-diversity due to continuing urban development, and increasing air pollution in urban centres.
UNDP/PAPP has worked to enhance institutional capacity at the national, regional and local levels to deal with environmental issues. This has included providing support to the National Palestinian Water Sector Strategy and Investment Programme, the foundation of the national water database and the establishment of effective integrated water resources management tools within the PWA.
Over 200 water supply and sanitation projects have been initiated by UNDP/PAPP in the West Bank and Gaza. These projects have included the construction of water supply and distribution networks, storage reservoirs and house connections. Community awareness of environmental issues and participation in preservation of natural resources has significantly increased and professional water engineers, planners, as well as technicians have been trained in integrated water resources management, leakage detection and operation and maintenance of water supply systems.