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Unholy War: How Israel’s 2014 offensive has left Gaza in shambles

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Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world according to the latest World Bank economic update. The report will be presented to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a forum of donors to the Palestinian Authority, at the bi-annual meeting in Brussels on May 27, 2015.

The 2014 war has reduced Gaza’s GDP by about US$460 million. Construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and electricity sectors were hit the most with output reductions of 83 per cent in the construction sector in the second half of 2014 and roughly 50 per cent in these other sectors. Gaza became a major source of deficit and the fiscal burden on the Palestinian Authority’s finances amplified by the internal divide. While about 43 per cent of PA’s expenditures are spent in Gaza, only 13 per cent of its revenues come from Gaza.

The report estimates that Gaza’s GDP would have been about four times higher than it currently is if it weren’t for the conflicts and the multiple restrictions. It also states that the blockade in place since 2007 has shaved around 50 percent off Gaza’s GDP.  Unemployment in Gaza is the highest in the world at 43 per cent. Even more alarming is the situation of youth unemployment which soared to more than 60 per cent by the end of 2014.

“Gaza’s unemployment and poverty figures are very troubling and the economic outlook is worrying. The current market in Gaza is not able to offer jobs leaving a large population in despair particularly the youth,” said Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “The ongoing blockade and the 2014 war have taken a toll on Gaza’s economy and people’s livelihoods. Gaza’s exports virtually disappeared and the manufacturing sector has shrunk by as much as 60 per cent. The economy cannot survive without being connected to the outside world.”

Gaza’s real GDP is only a couple of percentage points higher now than it was 20 years ago in 1994, while the population growth is estimated to have increased by about 230 per cent over the same period. Consequently, real per capita income in Gaza is 31 per cent lower now than in 1994.

Gaza’s population suffers from poor access and quality of basic public services such as electricity, water, and sewerage.  Nearly 80 per cent of Gaza’s population receives some kind of social assistance, and nearly 40 per cent of them still fall below the poverty line. While shocking, these numbers fail to fully convey the difficult living conditions that nearly all Gaza’s residents have been experiencing.

“Even more shocking is the reality that most of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents are confined to an area of 160 km square and are not able to travel beyond this area without permits. According to the Washington-based Center for Mind-Body-Medicine, as many as one-third of Gaza’s children showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder even before the 2014 armed conflict, now even more,” said Jorgensen.

Source: World Bank

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To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

Negotiators are also expected to put forth plans to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate.

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Drought, Climate change, global warming
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA

The World Bank has announced it is doubling its funding to help poor nations adjust to global warming to $200 billion over five years.

“If we don’t reduce emissions and build adaption now, we’ll have 100 million more people living in poverty by 2030,” the bank’s climate change chief John Roome told the French News Agency.

“And we also know that the less we address this issue proactively in just three regions – Africa, South Asia, and Latin America – we’ll have 133 million climate migrants, Roone cautioned.”

Helping poorer nations adapt to a warmer environment and the weather extremes that come with it include building sturdier homes, finding new sources of fresh water, and what the bank calls “climate smart agriculture.”

Climate change, ice, China, emissions, Global Warming
An ice crevasse is seen on the Baishui Glacier No. 1, the world’s fastest melting glacier due to its proximity to the Equator, on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the southern province of Yunnan in China. VOA

The World bank ‘s announcement comes as delegates from 200 countries started a two week-long climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

The threat posed by global warming “has never been worse,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said Sunday.

The threat posed by global warming “has never been worse,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said at the start of climate talks in Poland.

“This year is likely to be one of the four hottest years on record. Climate change impacts have never been worse. This reality is telling us that we need to much more,” she said Sunday.

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations are in the southern Polish city of Katowice for two weeks of talks on implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Accord. Signatories to that agreement pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius by 2030.

Climate change, emissions, Global Warming
U.N. Climate chief Patricia Espinosa (C) is flanked by officials during a press conference at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, VOA

“Looking from the outside perspective, it’s an impossible task,” Poland’s Deputy Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka told the Associated Press last week.

“The United Nations secretary-general is counting on all of us to deliver. There is no ‘Plan B'”

The climate change talks got a boost when 19 of 20 G-20 nations meeting in Buenos Aires reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change.

 https://youtu.be/mbt6_4IgZNg

The United States was the only holdout. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement because of what he says is the economic damage the treaty’s provisions would cause.

Trump is a promoter of fossil fuels and nuclear power and has proposed renegotiating the Paris Accord – an idea many dismiss as impractical.

Also Read: Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

Host country Poland is expected to propose what it calls a “just transition” for the oil, gas, and coal industries to ease the financial blow from the move away from such polluting sources of energy.

Negotiators are also expected to put forth plans to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate. (VOA)