A systems-based assessment of Palestine’s current and future infrastructure requirements

Matt Ives

Abstract

The occupied Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip are currently experiencing many challenges in the provision of infrastructure services for their inhabitants. This includes an under supply of infrastructure services across multiple sectors – an issue exacerbated by population growth, increasing urbanisation, economic growth and climate change. We address this challenge by providing a systems-based assessment of Palestine’s infrastructure requirements and identifying broad strategies for how those needs might be met. This assessment involved four key components including: 1) defining and assessing the current system and planned infrastructure investments; 2) assessing potential future demand for infrastructure services; 3) identifying alternative strategies for future infrastructure provision beyond planned investments; and 4) analysing the performance of each strategy against a series of key performance indicators. Results from the assessment highlight the magnitude of the current and future need for urgent infrastructure investment in Palestine. The most immediate need is to alleviate the water crises in Gaza Strip, which will require at least twice as much water infrastructure investment over the coming decade than is currently in the pipeline, even if the goal is only to achieve the most basic World Health Organisation water availability requirements. To move beyond this protracted state of crises will then require a doubling of investments across all sectors to bring Palestine up to the standards of services already enjoyed by its neighbours. Such investments can have even greater impact on delivery of infrastructure services through the strategic use of interdependencies between infrastructure sectors, such as water re-use and energy-from-waste. In the pursuit of global sustainable development, the systems-based approach presented here provides an important first step in the assessment of infrastructure needs and opportunities for any country. It is particularly important for states like Palestine where key resources, such as water and energy, are so acutely constrained.