Ramallah, 14th October- The United Nations Country Team for the occupied Palestinian Territories has endorsed a joint approach towards planning in Area C entitled “One UN Approach to Spatial Planning in Area C of the occupied West Bank.” Area C was defined in the Oslo II Accords of 1995 accounts for more than 60 percent of the West Bank's land mass and remains under Israeli control.
‘Area C’ is fundamental to the contiguity of the West Bank and the viability of the State of Palestine and its economy. With little political progress on the transfer of full authority over these areas from Israel to the Palestine Authority in the 20 years since the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (‘Oslo II’), for the 300,000 Palestinians resident in Area C life is a precarious existence.
Demolitions, confiscations, displacement, restrictions on movement, prevention of access to lands and security incidents are a daily reality for many. Many Palestinians living in Areas A and B are affected as well, where they have property or a livelihood in Area C.
The “One UN Approach to Spatial Planning in Area C of the occupied West Bank” outlines the principles and approach of the UN towards planning in Area C. It aims at articulating a position vis-à-vis the current Israeli planning system in Area C, setting out the parameters for UN engagement in planning initiatives, and supporting Palestinian planning for a future independent Palestine, including Area C.
The paper is based on the findings and recommendations of an International Advisory Board, commissioned by UN-Habitat to review Local Outline Plans in Area C against international planning benchmarks. In pursuing this approach, the UN will support other complementary initiatives such as the development of city-region plans at the governorate level, the formulation of a National Spatial Plan and the review of the current Palestinian legal framework for planning, in addition to continuing to advocate for a just and enabling planning regime, as well as the ultimate transfer of authority in Area C to the State of Palestine.
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