Occupied Palestinian Territory: Culture and Development


The Occupied Palestinian Territory has suffered from slowing growth and high unemployment in recent years, particularly among women and youth. The Joint Programme's goal was to create sustainable socio-economic development in the West Bank and Gaza through culture-related activities and tailor-made programmes based on the notion of cultural diversity.

The programme supported the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan by providing Palestinians institutions, organizations and professionals with the skills and tools necessary to better understand, access, enjoy, protect and profitably manage their rich and diverse cultural heritage.

It relied on a participatory, bottom-up approach to:

  1. Establish policies and practices for the safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage;
  2. Develop best practices to foster social cohesion; and
  3. Utilize the potential of cultural heritage and the creative industries to improve livelhoods and spur inclusive economic growth.

Main achievements included:

  • For the first time in Palestine, a knowledge-based tool was developed for understanding, managing and disseminating data on the Palestinian Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in addition to an archive for ICH. Three domains of intangible cultural heritage were included: traditional agricultural knowledge, fishermen culture and food culture.
  • The programme revised and made operational the National Palestinian Plan for Culture through institutional capacity development, including training programmes on: gender mainstreaming and culture, museum exhibition development and curatorial practices and strategic protection of the Palestinian Cultural Heritage.
  • A thorough analysis was carried out of cultural and eco-tourism and well as of creative industries. Results were communicated and adopted by related ministries, which began implementing the recommendations. The programme also produced a comprehensive model of integrated replicable actions that build and complement each other on both national and local levels.
  • Socially responsible partnerships were established with Palestinian art groups and cultural organizations to create a space for rights to culture and dialogue (e.g, a partnership between Edward Said Conservatory in Bethlehem and Dar Al Tifil and the France-Hebron Society in Hebron city; a partnership with Al Mahatta Gallery (a youth voluntary independent initiative) to conduct trainings on innovative designs for young artists in the West Bank and Gaza.)
  • The programme produced a pilot-quality sustainable model of community-based tourism in the village of Sebastiyah, an integrated management plan that is the first of its kind, and supported the construction of the basic tourist facility in that location. It also supported communities in Sebastiya, Arrabeh and Yaabad in developing and adopting two conservation plans for enhancing land use, landscape planning and environmental impact assessment skills, as well as ameliorating environmental and culturally sound use of local natural resources.
  • A comprehensive programme for production and marketing of local agro-biodiversity products was completed in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture. The programme targeted 140 women entrepreneurs within seven women's associations, building their capacities to produce and market high quality food products using traditional crop varieties and processing methods.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 12 Mar 2009 - 30 Nov 2012
Net funded amount $3,000,000
Participating UN agencies FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, UN Women
National partners Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA), Ministry of Culture (MOC), Ministry of Women Affairs (MOWA) Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)
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