Neighbourhood - Southern

Joint Programming: State of play - Despite the very specific situation of Palestine – an overcrowded, fragmented and highly politicised context – the Office of the European Union Representative (EUREP), Member States (EU MS), Norway and Switzerland have worked towards a European Joint Programming in Palestine since 2011. 

Aligned with the the Palestinian National Policy Agenda (NPA) 2017-2022, the European Joint Strategy 2017-2020 focuses on the following five Pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Governance reform, fiscal consolidation and policy (Pillar led by the EU, the United Kingdom and Denmark)
  • Pillar 2: Rule of law, citizen safety and human rights (Pillar led by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands)
  • Pillar 3: Sustainable service delivery (Pillar led by Finland/Belgium, Italy and the EU)
  • Pillar 4: Access to self-sufficient water and energy services (Pillar led by Germany and France)
  • Pillar 5: Sustainable economic development (Pillar led by Spain and the EU)

Key crosscutting issues are also mainstreamed in the Pillars (i.e. gender equality, environment, human rights, youth and civil society engagement). While European development partners recognise the geographical disparities and challenges related to them, Palestine is treated as "one" in the Strategy, as to ensure that the geographical fragmentation is not further reinforced. The specific needs of East Jerusalem, Area C and the Gaza Strip (areas where the role of the Palestinian Authority is severely limited due to different political, administrative and security arrangements) are however acknowledged. Support to Palestine refugees across the Middle East continues to be an important priority for EU development partners.

  • Opportunities

The European Joint Strategy is seen as an opportunity for European development partners to be more coherent and to reinforce EU's values and principles on the ground – as reflected in the new influencing tools/strategies included in the joint response of the Strategy.

It has been developed with the purpose of proposing new influencing strategies that could go beyond traditional development tools and bring about a change in the way EU's development partners address the Palestinian context and priorities.

  • Challenges

The Strategy acknowledges that only a credible, realistic and brave political solution can put an end to the protracted occupation and ensure that European development partners effectively contribute to the two-state solution and to build sustainable livelihoods for all Palestinians.

On top of existing traditional developing tools, other existing and/or new tools should be developed/enhanced, aiming at a closer alignment between the political and development dimensions of the work of European partners in Palestine.

European Development partners work in Palestine alongside other important players on the ground, including donor countries, international agencies and International Non-Governmental Organisations. A number of important parallel processes are taking place at the same time. The implementation of the NPA will require adjustments to the current set up to ensure greater coherence as well stronger reach out to non-traditional donors.

Link with policy, political dialogue or other forms of strategic engagement

The uniqueness of the context explains that the political dimension of the European Joint Strategy is so strong. It aims at affirming and defending the shared vision of European actors in Palestine, as well as ensuring the convergence between the development work and the political objectives of the EU. Together with the NPA, both strategic documents are also solid foundation for a strong dialogue on fundamental human rights, environmental protection, democratic governance and gender equality.

The Joint Programming Document 2017-2020 directly responds to the Palestinian National Policy Agenda, and was prepared based on six years of joint policy dialogue, using flexible locally developed and managed policy dialogue tools. Policy dialogue takes place within the context of the EU-Palestine Joint Committee and the six ENP Sub-committees, within the framework of the Action Plan with Palestine. In 2014, 16 EU/MS rolling Sector Strategy Fiches (based on a Division of Labour) were prepared to be used as policy-dialogue tools with Palestinian counterparts. 

Link with other exercises

  • In line with the EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society, the participation of civil society in public policy formulation and monitoring of public policies implementation and delivery is embedded in the Joint Programming approach. That includes to monitor experiences of CSOs on a regular basis, to stay informed about the enabling and disenabling trends in Palestine and Israel, to conduct separate research on the enabling environment for civil society in the Gaza Strip.
  • Gender is a cross-cutting topic mainstreamed throughout the Joint Strategy.
  • Among the principles guiding the Joint Strategy are also mentioned: the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development; a Rights Based Approach (RBA) to development programming; good governance, accountability and transparency; international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Link with other donor coordination mechanisms

Besides the meetings of Heads of Cooperation, several Informal Working Groups have been set up and chaired by the sectoral leads in order to achieve more coherence in certain areas (e.g. East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Area C, private sector development, gender, PEGASE Direct Financial Support, civil society, water and energy, etc.). Additionally, Interest Groups have been set up with the aim of bringing together as appropriate the different strands of EU presence in Palestine (primarily development and political). This is the case of the Interest Group on UNRWA (which also prepares the EU common statement to be delivered at meetings of the Advisory Commission twice a year) as well as of the Interest Groups on East Jerusalem and Area C. The latter also involves coordination between EU/MS on humanitarian activities in Area C. In addition, over the past years, several existing EU/MS (funding) mechanisms have been developed, also opened to non-EU/MS donors (e.g.: PEGASE Direct Financial Support, the Joint
Financing Arrangement, the Municipal Development and Lending Fund, etc.).

Examples of successful joint initiatives between European partners

Shared visions/policies (e.g.: in the water and agriculture sectors) as well as joint efforts deployed in cross-cutting issues (e.g.: Gender equality, Youth, Environment Protection, Human Rights and Support to Civil Society) and Palestinian areas facing special needs and challenges (e.g.: Area C, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip) have been developed.

Prospects, notably possibility for replacement of EU/EU MS bilateral programming documents

Further addressing the issue of substitution (full or partial substitution) will be needed during the implementation of the European Joint Strategy and during the elaboration of the next Strategy.

    Missions & Meetings

    Country Notes


    About Palestine


    Neighbourhood - Southern

    Country Classification

    Income Status
    Lower-Middle Income
    Fragile Status
    • Fragile State (OECD)
    • Fragile State (WB)

    Active in Joint Programming


    Tracking Summary

    NDP Period
    EU MIPS Period
    Joint Programming Start Date
    Joint Programming Launch Date
    Evaluation Note
    First Annual Report 2018, Mid Term Review in 2019, and Final Report/Evaluation in 2020
    Updated on 28/06/2019