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WFP and UN Women to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Palestine

Female students walking down the street in Bethlehem, Palestine.
Photo: Dreamstime

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signed an agreement to better support the State of Palestine to accelerate progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The two agencies will support the government in adopting a gender-transformative approach that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment through Cash-Based Transfers and Multi-Purpose Cash assistance that gives people the freedom to use assistance towards rent, food, education, health and other household pressing needs. WFP and UN Women will plan and implement activities in close coordination, ensuring that the activities are comprehensive, cross-cutting and well targeted.

“This collaboration comes during a very specific time when we are battling the COVID-19 crisis. Both men and women are affected and yet differently,” says Maryse Guimond, UN Women Special Representative in Palestine. “UN Women and WFP will seek in Palestine to enhance women’s access to resources and recovery to advance a more equal, fair, sustainable and inclusive society”.

The spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing deteriorating health and socio-economic conditions of Palestinians, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable group. The massive loss of jobs hits women disproportionally with the informal employment sector, which absorbs most women workers, being significantly impacted by closures and lockdowns. Despite progress, social protection systems in Palestine are not accessible enough to women, leaving them without social safety nets and basic services like old-age pensions, health insurance, and allowances for disability, maternity and sick leave.

“To save lives and change lives we must promote equity and the empowerment of all. This is particularly important in humanitarian crises and places of conflict, when food insecurity and malnutrition are exacerbated,” says Hildegard Lingnau, WFP Deputy Country Director in Palestine.

“WFP has committed to integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into our activities to reach our goal of Zero Hunger and ensure that the food needs of women, men, girls and boys are met.”

The MoU was signed in the presence of UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Lynn Hastings, who stressed its importance to strengthening the triple humanitarian-peace-development nexus and the one UN approach in Palestine for the benefit of the most vulnerable.

In Palestine, WFP seeks to provide food assistance to 426,000 of the poorest and most food insecure non-refugees, half of whom are women and girls. WFP also supports the Palestinian government to enhance the building of a more effective and inclusive Social Protection System.

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