2012 Food Security Survey Launched

04 September 2013

At a workshop attended by government ministries, donor agencies and international organizations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) presented the report of the 2012 Socio-Economic and Food Security (SEFSec) Survey. The survey was organized in cooperation with UNRWA, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The three UN agencies also served as co-authors for the report.

PCBS President Ola Awad chaired the workshop. Ms Awad described the SEFSec Survey as an important tool for assessing trends in the food security situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is the fourth edition of the SEFSec Survey, which is conducted annually; a more comprehensive Palestinian Expenditure and Consumption Survey (PECS) is planned for every four to five years.

Mustafa Khawaja, the project manager, explained that the 2012 survey revealed a challenging situation: Over all, 34 per cent of Palestinian households (1.57 million individuals) were found to be food insecure in 2012, an increase of 7 per cent from 2011. He explained that this represented an almost complete reversal of the progressive improvements made since 2009 in food security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Felipe Sanchez, Director of UNRWA Operations in  the West Bank,added: “In both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, we see that food insecurity has increased faster among Palestine refugees than among non-refugees, widening the gap in the West Bank and eliminating the relative advantage of refugees’ food security in the Gaza Strip.”

Mr Sanchez noted that the decrease in available emergency funding over the past several years has had a dramatic impact on UNRWA food and cash assistance programmes and could  explain the steep increase of food insecurity in the Palestine refugee camps. However, he added that UNRWA is working to reform its poverty-targeting systems, and reiterated the Agency’s desire “remain engaged in a 2013 SEFSec study as part of PCBS’s overall strategy for monitoring food security and poverty levels.”

Read the full survey here.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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