From 2002-2003 UNEP conducted aDesk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to assess the environmental impact of ongoing conflict on the areas of waste management, biodiversity and institutional capacity. The report found that years of conflict had presented huge challenges to Palestinian efforts towards sound management of their natural resources, with rapid population growth, a long-lasting refugee situation, desertification and land degradation adding additional pressure. These problems could undermine the peace process and become a significant barrier to sustainable development if left unaddressed. Further to the recommendations in theDesk Study, UNEP conducted activities in the areas described below.

Environmental information and education

UNEP conducted a series of capacity-building workshops on the themes of waste management and environmental impact assessment for Palestinian experts from the Environmental Quality Authority.

Post-disengagement environmental assessment

UNEP was requested by the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority to conduct an environmental assessment of Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip that were disengaged in September 2005. In December 2005, UNEP conducted field sampling and analysis of the former settlements and released its findings in theEnvironmental Assessment of the Areas Disengaged by Israel in the Gaza Strip.