The Palestine Resilience Conference (PRC) 2016 was organized jointly by the Government of Palestine and the United Nations Development Programme/Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) and hosted by the Government of Jordan in the Capital Amman on 24-25 November 2016. The PRC 2016 is a unique space where practitioners, donors, government actors, non-government actors, and the private sector met to think-plan-deliver on how to influence resilience-based programming across the State of Palestine. Since the occupation in 1967, the international assistance program has been actively engaged in both development and humanitarian efforts to support the basic needs and rights of the Palestinian people. However, as the Israeli occupation approaches its 50th year, and the blockade of Gaza its 11th year, stakeholders are concerned about the overall impact of continued violence, conflict, and de-development.
The PRC 2016 seeks to address key questions and concerns of various stakeholders by posing creative and innovative solutions. As a conference, this meeting attempts to identify:
A clear, unified, and pragmatic definition of “ resilience” and its applicability to the Palestinian context;
Areas where resilience-based programming can improve and strengthen both humanitarian and developmental efforts to support Palestinian livelihoods and basic rights;
A resilience-based agenda with a clear vision on how to advocate and lobby towards enhancing Palestinian access to their natural resources, territory, and key trade routes for increased economic opportunity;
By engaging practitioners, academics, government, civil society, the international community, and the Palestinian private sector, the PRC is a unique meeting that aims to result in a renewed implementation mind-set to improve common understanding and practice on the ground.
The Conference was convened in two days and started in the first day with an official opening session where high level official representatives (ministers) from the Governments of both Palestine and Jordan as well as from the UNDP/PAPP made opening remarks. The official opening session was followed by and hosted by an introductory session where panellists discussed the definition of “Resilience” and the intersection between humanitarian and development. Following this session, the Conference broke into three parallel geographical sessions as follows: 1- The link between recovery and resilience (the case of Gaza); 2- Challenging forced displacement through resilience in area C; and 3- A resilience based approach to promote rights and residency in east Jerusalem. The first day ended with a plenary session where panellists discussed and exchanged their views on the theme “Resilient Economy and Social Development”. The second day was devoted to two plenary sessions: on the reflections on the first day discussions; and the other on programming resilience. The Conference, then, ended in the second day with a plenary session for warp up and closing remarks.
After almost 50 years of protracted occupation, limited developmental progress, socio-economic stagnation or deterioration, and political deadlock, donors and other stakeholders have been questioning the efficacy of the current aid paradigm and its applicability to Palestine, where a unique situation of recurrent humanitarian crises and urgent development needs, sometimes termed as ‘de-development’ persist. In this context, the Conference has succeeded to provide a space where key stakeholders, including practitioners, donors, government actors, NGOs actors, international developmental institutions and private sector met to think-plan-deliver on how to influence resilience-based programming across the occupied Palestinian territory. That is answering the question: is there another way to more effectively deliver humanitarian and development interventions, which see real on-the-ground change to empower individuals, communities, and institutions to become less vulnerable to shocks?
The Conference acts only as a starting point for change. Donors and other key stakeholders now must make long-term commitments to resilience-based programming, in order to see real change. Sumud provides a real national connection to the overarching concept of resilience, which can act as a lens through which the development/aid structure can be changes in the long term. It is hoped that the collective learning, open dialogue, and knowledge sharing from this Conference will help developing a new roadmap for aid utilizing the framework of transformative resilience. The outcome of the Conference will be submitted to various relevant Palestinian Authorities (Ministers) for more elaboration and implementation. The organizers may continue convening this Conference with new editions in the short-term (once a year or once every two years).
SESRIC was represented at the Conference by Mr. Nabil DABOUR, Assistant Director General. For all related documents, see UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) at http://www.palestineresilience.ps/