Background and objectives:
At its nineteenth session, the UN Governing Council:
- Recognized that the special housing and human settlements needs of the Palestinian people fell within the technical mandate of UN-HABITAT;
- Recognized that shelter and human settlements are key in reaching long-term sustainable peace in the Middle East;
- Expressed the hope that the Israelis and the Palestinians would renew efforts to develop jointly a human settlements programme for the Palestinian people
- Endorsed the establishment of the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People and the Technical Cooperation Trust Fund, with an initial funding of $5 million
- Urged the international donor community and all financial institutions to support UN-HABITAT in the immediate mobilization of financial resources towards the establishment and operation of the programme and the fund.
The long-term development objective of the Special Human Settlements Programme is to improve the human settlements conditions of the Palestinian People and so contribute to peace, security and stability in the region. The immediate aims are to build the capacity and help establish a housing policy and delivery system.
The programme will in particular help to:
- build institutional capacity and strengthen coordination mechanisms; (ii) promote affordable housing finance
- enhance capacity of research institutions
- support the development of a Palestinian Human Settlements Policy
The main activities were carried out in two phases:
- Programme Definition Phase (March 2004-December 2004), designed to situate UN-HABITAT institutionally, raise funds, assess conditions and define elements.
- Programme Implementation Phase (January 2005-January 2010), designed to achieve the outlined objectives.
The results achieved so far have been:
- Successful fund raising for specific housing projects where issues of sustainability through local economic development, job creation, cost reduction and good management will be researched and applied.
- Saudi Committee for Palestinian People Relief committed US$6.3 million for implementing a housing and income generating programme for poor women in Hebron, and US$1.59 million for a technical and vocational training centre for underprivileged women in Hebron.
- Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID) committed US$354,000 for the establishment of a medical and rehabilitation centre in Taqua (Bethlehem)
- Kingdom of Bahrain committed US$250,000 to strengthen the capacity of the Palestinian Authority to prepare coherent housing and urban policies.