In the State of Palestine, ongoing protracted conflict, economic stagnation, restricted trade and access to resources, coupled with high unemployment and poverty rates, continue to pose serious challenges to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger, food security and improved nutrition.
With nearly one third of the population – 32.7 percent, or 1.6 million people – not having the means to afford nutritious food, humanitarian assistance has prevented the food security situation from deteriorating further. Food insecurity is high among women – 32 percent of families headed by women are food insecure – and particularly in the Gaza Strip, where it peaks at 54 percent.
Poorly diversified diets are causing overlapping nutritional problems. According to the most recent national surveys, nearly 50 percent of those assessed had very low levels of essential minerals and vitamins.
The humanitarian conditions in Gaza – where poverty and food insecurity affect 53 percent and 68.5 of the populationrespectively– continue to deteriorate at an alarming pace following the collapse of all productive sectors, basic social services and infrastructures. Gaza’s socio-economic fabric is faltering due to the cumulative impact of 11 years of sea, land and air blockade and a year-long energy crisis which leaves residents with less than four hours of electricity per day.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been in Palestine since 1991, providing food assistance to the most vulnerable non-refugee populations. WFP focuses its activities on areas with a high prevalence of food insecurity, including the Gaza Strip, where WFP has been expanding the use of cash assistance to support an ailing economy and increase the impact on the food security of the people it serves.
What the World Food Programme is doing in the State of Palestine
Food assistanceWFP provides non-refugee populations in highly food insecure areas, including the Gaza strip and Area C of the West Bank, with unconditional food assistance – increasingly in the form of electronic vouchers which people can use to buy food of their choice – and nutrition awareness, with a view to reducing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Capacity strengtheningWFP works with national institutions to enhance the capacity of existing social safety nets to assist the poor and vulnerable, and engages in new partnerships with government, United Nations and NGO partners around the use and further development of WFP’s voucher platform, which transfers assistance through a WFP electronic card. The WFP voucher platform has proven to be an efficient, flexible and cost-effective tool and has been made available to several partners.