Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP): Driving Agriculture in Gaza

The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform- GUPAP, launched in 2013, consists of a multi-stakeholder, interactive and participatory forum that brings together all key actors involved in the development of a resilient Palestinian agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip. GUPAP is currently made up of about 80 members, including national and local government Institutions; Non-Governmental Civil Institutions; the Private Sector; Research and Educational Institutions; Agricultural Value Chain Platforms and Agricultural Micro-Finance Institutions.

Over the past years, GUPAP, by building institutional capacity and collaboration among GUPAP members this resulted in the design and adaptation of 5 policies relating to local market-oriented urban and peri-urban agriculture development, including MoNE assessment of protection of national products, dates and dairy products & investigation on tariffs for imported foreign dairy products and quota placement on imported powder milk, the activation of the Dates Sector Development Committee (Red Palm Weevil Cluster), an advocacy campaign on women agricultural rights, and the reactivation of the Consumer Protection Association and launching of a Buy-local campaign.

Furthermore, GUPAP has worked with both governmental (including municipalities) and non-governmental institutions to internalise the concepts of market oriented urban farming within the strategies and function of the national institutions. It was successful to integrate this concept within the 2016-2018 strategy of MoNE. Similarly these concepts as well as the project’s participatory extension approaches have been integrated in the MoA strategy. GUPAP facilitated participation of value chain actors, including small scale producers and private sector, to provide input into these strategies.

From 2013-2017, GUPAP was hosted by Oxfam and PNGO. It was supported in its work by both Oxfam Italy as well as the RUAF Foundation-Global partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and City Region Food Systems.

GUPAP Work Plan 2018-2020

In 2017, GUPAP was established as an independent Palestinian NGO with its own legal status. GUPAP has defined the following goals and activities for the coming 3 years:

Goal (1): Consolidate the functioning of GUPAP

The goal is to consolidate the functioning of GUPAP as an independent NGO, maintaining sustained participation of its wide institutional member platform. Related strategic actions will include:

Goal (2): Influence local and national agriculture and other policies that bear on the development of sustainable and resilient urban agriculture in the Gaza Strip.

Goal (3) Consolidate the establishment of an on-line information resources centre on urban agriculture to facilitate broad user access to information from the Gaza Strip and other (Arab speaking) countries.  Currently, information on urban agriculture in Arabic language is fragmented, often out-of-date and dispersed among the many organisations working in this field.

Goal (4) Facilitate and strengthen institutional capacities and innovation in urban and peri-urban agriculture.

Following its past working approaches, the GUPAP will continue training needs assessment and capacity building for all its members and other involved stakeholders. Adult learning and learning by doing approaches (PLAR) will be applied in order to optimally benefit from local experiences, knowledge and resources.

GUPAP will establish an Intermediate (Co) Funding mechanism – Gaza Urban Agriculture Innovation Fund (GUAIF). GUPAP will act as the secretariat and coordination of such an Intermediate Funding Mechanism that will take charge of managing the process of project assessment, results monitoring; the co-funding of local multi-stakeholder innovative initiatives on urban agriculture and the realisation of activities that will lead to increased local financing urban agriculture.

Donor agencies may support the fund with any amount of funding and may target their funding to specific innovative projects (e.g school and top roof gardens, local youth businesses etc.). Maximum 10% of the contributions will go to GUPAP management of the fund. The other 90% will directly benefit the projects.

The aforementioned goals and strategic actions form the basis for further operational planning under which the GUPAP will develop and implement its various programmes, activities and initiatives. These will be implemented in close and strong cooperation between different GUPAP members and other involved stakeholders (see attached list of GUPAP members), a transparent call and selection process for the planned activities will be opened. The GUPAP will be supported by the international RUAF Foundation with over 15 years of experience in urban and peri-urban agriculture. It will also call on other (national and international) expertise where needed.

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About Ahmed Sourani

Ahmed Sourani is the Coordinator of Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP). Previously, he held several advisory and managerial positions in local and international organizations including: Oxfam, ICRC & PARC. He is a member of a number of national & regional development initiatives where his expertise focuses on organizational development, policy change and networking for agricultural development, participatory learning and action research. He participated as expert speaker to the UN seminars on assistance to Palestinian people and Gaza Reconstruction (Cairo, 2009 & Vienna, 2015) and the International Urban Farming Conference, Germany in 2017. Ahmed holds Masters Degree in international Development from Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

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