During the month of July 2009, in response to comments by official Israeli stakeholders, the Bank opted to conduct additional data gathering on the status and causes of non-implementation of JWC-approved Palestinian water projects. The Bank communicated its decision on this website, while withholding website posting of the report's Annex 12 which would benefit from the additional research.
The opportunity and scope of the added research was discussed in meetings held on July 12, 2009 between a World Bank mission and Government of Israel representatives in Tel Aviv, as well as with PWA leadership in Ramallah. The main agreed purpose of this additional effort was to document in more detail why up to 35 of the 82 Palestinian projects approved by the JWC for the West Bank since 2001 had not been implemented or completed to date. Of particular relevance towards clarifying Israeli Civil Administration's share of responsibility in implementation delays, the research was to explicitly document the permitting status of non-implemented Area C projects. Documentary research and field verifications conducted by consultants with access to PWA records produced an "Enriched Annex 12", which was submitted to official Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders for review and comments on July 31, 2009. No formal comments were received from either side, and the "Enriched Annex 12" is now hereby attached for public reference (download/click here).
The additional and/or validated data featured in Table 12a of "Enriched Annex 12" marginally updates, as of July 2009, the data presented in Annex 12 of the report published in April 2009. The updated database is shared for public access to sustain further inquiries and research by interested parties. It affords new interesting insights into the complex factors contributing, over and above the limited capacity of Palestinian institutions, to the slow development of Palestinian water infrastructure. It does not however significantly add to the fundamental findings published in the report.
To that effect, preliminary analysis of the additional data acquired or validated is here provided for indicative purposes, such as summarized in the table below.
- The table suggests that, out of 47 approved projects entirely located in Areas A or B (8+5+34=47), 32 have been implemented (6+2+24=32), resulting in a 68% implementation rate since 2001, and that the sole reason for non-implementation or non-completion of the remaining 15 projects (2+3+10=15) is the lack of sufficient or timely funding by Palestinian agencies, municipalities and their donors.
- The table also provides a status snapshot, as of July 2009, for 35 projects located wholly or partly in Area C, suggesting that 15 projects have been completed and 20 haven't yet (4+3+7+6=20). The implementation rate since 2001 thus stands today at about 43%. The reasons for non implementation or non-completion to date are diverse, including lack of sufficient funding for permitted projects (4 of 20, i.e. 20%) and permit rejection (3 of 20, i.e. 15%). The remaining projects are in various stages of "due process", still undergoing preparation and not submitted to CA permitting (6 out 20, i.e. 30%) or submitted and waiting for CA permit (7 of 20, i.e. 35%). Some projects awaiting permitting have yet to secure sufficient funding. These simplified findings confirm that the funding and permitting steps are critical in Area C project implementation. Preliminary analysis of "due process" timelines, also suggests that, including outlier "problem" projects, the average lead time for PWA to prepare and submit a project design and permit application to CA following JWC-approval, is about 10 months. By contrast , including outlier "problem" projects but not including rejected projects, and with the understanding that the responsibility for permitting outcomes is always shared in varying degrees by the permitter and the permittee, the average CA permit award time since 2001 is in excess of 27 months.
It is hoped that such findings suffice to alert the Palestinian Authority and donors to the opportunity for more effective mobilization of funds for Area A, B and C projects. With regards to Area C, the opportunity is confirmed for more effective collaboration and responsiveness between parties, towards facilitating compliance and permitting outcomes, especially on long standing projects.
More refined analysis of the additional data gathered on JWC-approved projects may be justified, including for (i) permit processing timeline assessments, and (ii) factors contributing to the lack or loss of sufficient project funding. Further analysis is also granted into the causes of what remains one of the biggest factors of impaired Palestinian water infrastructure development, i.e. the withholding of project approval by the JWC.
The World Bank welcomes all constructive comments and complementary inputs on these issues.