IUCN ROWA has recently launched the Strategy for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development in Palestine through the IUCN Marj Sanour Project Office based in Palestine. Since the establishment of the Palestine Project, in early 2008, the project team has been involved in various stakeholder meetings and workshops to engage them in the formulation of the IUCN Programme Strategy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A number of key organizations have expressed keen interest in joining forces with IUCN and also becoming IUCN members. They stressed on the importance of IUCN local presence through the Marj Sanour Project Office in Palestine.
The launched strategy addresses the need to empower vulnerable households in marginalized areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to exercise their rights to access, manage, conserve and utilize their natural resources in different ecosystems in a sustainable way so as to improve local livelihoods. Four thematic areas were highlighted through the strategy concerning the conservation and sustainable use of Palestinian biodiversity, water resources management, drylands management as well as marine and coastal areas management. Additionally, the strategy encouraged the use of traditional knowledge systems, capacity building and training, assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity and natural resources as well as species conservation.
IUCN ROWA has established the Project Office in Ramallah, Palestine to implement a three-year project on Watershed Development in the Marj Sanour in Jenin Governorate. The project works on a long-term watershed development plan aiming to improve agricultural production and to secure livelihoods in the Marj Sanour watershed. The project forms part of the Regional Water Resources and Drylands Programme (REWARD) that is core funded by DGCS/Italy and DGIS/Netherlands, the latter through the IUCN Water and Nature Initiative (WANI).
An additional task of the IUCN Palestine Office is to develop a broader IUCN Programme in Palestine in line with IUCN’s five Thematic Priority Areas; conserving biodiversity for life, changing the climate forecast, naturally energizing the future, managing ecosystems for human wellbeing, and greening the market.