Palestinian Territories

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Palestinian Territories


Updated to: 26 September 2013

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

In Palestine, the EIA and SEA systems were simultaneously established with the enactment of the Palestinian Environmental Assessment Policy in 2000. The policy provides information on environmental assessment in general and thus accounts for projects, plans and programmes. However, while specific EIA procedures are given, the policy does not specify the steps for SEA. The EIA procedures distinguish two forms of EIA: 1. An Initial Environmental Evaluation (IEE) is conducted for projects where significant environmental impacts are uncertain, or where compliance with environmental regulation must be ensured. 2. A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required for projects which are likely to have significant environmental impacts. An EIA may be carried out as a result of an IEE.
The Environmental Quality Authority is the central EA authority that takes decisions throughout the EA process, issues the environmental approval at the basis of the EA report and conducts monitoring acitivities.

Administrative system: relevant features

After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 2000, the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip were divided into three areas and 16 governorates under the juristiction of the Palestinian National Autority. It was then and for these areas for which the Enviromental Assessment Policy was enacted. However since 2007, the administration of the territoires has been contested by two rival factions of the Palestinian National Authority. Since then, Palestine is divided into a Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and a Fatah civil leadership in the autonomous areas in the West bank. Both leading groups see themselves as main administrators over the whole Palestinian Territoires and do not acknowledge the other one. The environmental law that was initiated by the Fatah-supported Palestinian National Authority thus remains valid in the West Bank.


Relevant international conventions

Even though the Palestinian Territoires have not signed the Espoo Convention, a direct reference is made to it in its Environmental Asessment Policy (2000). Article 9 states that the Palestinian National Authority, through the Environmental Quality Authority (previously the Ministry of Environmental Affairs), shall negotiate reciprocal agreements wit neighbouring countries to ensure that EA contributes to the mitigation of  transboundary environmental impacts of development activities. These agreements shall be consistent with the principles of the United Nations Espoo Convention.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

Considering legal provisions and setting of national environmental priorities, the development of environmental standards is facilitated.
According to the Environmental Law (1999), the Environmental Quality Authority (previously the Ministry of Environmental Affairs) shall set up various norms and standards such as for air quality, noise, fresh and sea water and the protection of natural resources. The Environmental Assessment Policy states that in the absence of any Palestinian standards, appropriate ones will be considered for EA studies and environmental approvals.
In 2001 and 2002 the following standards were drafted:
-Palestinian Standard for Outdoor Noise (Draft 2001)
-Palestinian Standard for Ambient Air Quality (Draft 2001)
-Palestinian Standard for Industrial Wastewater Discharge to Sewerage System (Draft 2001)
-Palestinian Standard for Air Pollution Emissions from Stationary Sources (Draft 2002)

Further, the National Environmental Action Plan (2005) names the development of the following environmental standards and guidelines as one of the identified priority actions.
1. Appropriate standards for wastewater treatment plant influents and effluents;
    industrial effluents and seawater.
2. Definition standards for solid hazardous waste and infectious waste.
3. Air emission standards for various emission sources and ambient air quality
4. Development of standards for the application of fertilizers and pesticides.
5. Development of standards and regulations for the protection of nature areas
    and important ecosystems.

Despite these indications for activities on the development of environmental 
standards it is not confirmed if such environmental standards have been
finalized and issued.

Abu Auda M. & Shahin U., 2005. National Action Plan for Reduction of Pollution of Mediterranean from Land Based Sources. Palestinian Authority. UNEP, 2003. Desk Study on the Environment in the occupied Palestinian Territoires. Report No UNEP/GC.22/INF/

Country specific terms or acronyms

IEE = Initial Environmental Evaluation
MENA = Ministry of Environmental Affairs