UNOPS

18/05/2015

The Materials Monitoring Unit - Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism

UNOPS is providing administrative support to a project that aims to enable the reconstruction of Gaza and consequently improve the lives of people in Gaza.

The urgent need for construction materials to re-build Gaza prompted the United Nations to broker the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) in September 2014. The GRM is a temporary agreement between the Government of Palestine and the Government of Israel. Its overall objective is to enable construction and reconstruction work on the large scale now required in the Gaza Strip. While the UN continues to call for a full lifting of the blockade, the GRM represents an important step towards this objective. Construction material for small shelter repairs first entered Gaza through the GRM on 14 October 2014. The GRM also aims to enable not only the reconstruction of Gaza, but also the transformation of the area through the creation of infrastructure networks that will support an appropriate level of human development, allowing residents to enjoy their right to an adequate standard of living. Click here for more detailed information on the progress of the GRM.

UNOPS provides administrative support for the materials monitoring unit (MMU) project in the areas of: human resources, recruitment and contact administration; financial reporting and budget management; logistics and fleet management and procurement and project administration coordination. The MMU project is led by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) on behalf of the UN and Government of Palestine. The MMU monitors the supply and utilization of specified 'dual use' materials, whose entry into Gaza is facilitated through the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism.

As part of the project, a multi-disciplinary team located in Gaza monitors the supply chain of 'dual use' materials on behalf of the Government of Palestine, helping to ensuring the intended civilian use of these materials. This is facilitated through the use of an online information management system (GRAMMS) and teams of engineers, quantity surveyors and stock monitors. Data is collected through static and mobile devices and managed in a central database capable of producing reports that satisfy the Government of Palestine's information needs.

The Al-Masri family was one of many families to have their home destroyed or partially damaged during the conflict. Hamza, his wife Khulud and their five children fled their home in Beit Hanoun after it became unbearable to remain there, where they were sheltering together in one room under the heavy bombing. When they returned their home was severely damaged. Hamza says. "Everything was destroyed, we were left with no bedrooms, no kitchen, nothing, we lost everything."

The family was able to buy materials through the GRM: "It's fantastic that we were able to buy the building materials, as this has allowed us to repair the house. We can finally gather together as one family again." Their house now shelters the families of Hamza and his brother, their two sisters and all their children.

The Sleisel family was in a similar situation. Their house in al-Maghazi refugee camp was badly damaged during the war.

Majdi Sleisel, his wife and eight children — including a paraplegic son, and another who needs regular dialysis — fled their home and took refuge in a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) shelter. After the fighting had stopped, they were then able to obtain construction materials through the GRM,  repair their damaged home and so return to a more stable and comfortable environment.

Majdi explains: "I borrowed money from my relatives to purchase some of the construction materials available to me, to at least fix the windows and the doors in order to feel safe. Then, with the money I received from UNRWA, I was able to purchase more construction materials and did the major repairs like the walls, the bathrooms, the kitchen and the boys' room."

Vendors and private companies also benefit from the GRM. Salah Elamassi Company was one of many local enterprises able to restart its business — supplying construction materials in Gaza — after suffering dramatic financial losses as a result of the recent conflict.

"Up until a year and a half ago, the company had stopped working completely; we couldn't bring any construction materials into Gaza," said Khalid El-Amassi, the son of the company's owner.

He added that, "It is the only mechanism that has provided us with the opportunity to import to restart our business after several months of recession".