To highlight environmental issues that pose an immediate threat to human life in Gaza during the pandemic, PENGON organized different activities to advocate for environmental rights in Gaza both locally and internationally through a rights-based approach with an emphasis on gender during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gaza Strip has experienced continuous environmental deterioration since the Israeli blockade and closure was imposed in 2007. It has also had serious economic, social, and humanitarian consequences for most of its 2 million inhabitants, exacerbated by three wars and continued Israeli aggression since the blockade. The two million Palestinians in Gaza are living in an open-air prison under Israeli occupation and siege.

The UN projected that Gaza would be “unlivable by 2020”. The environmental situation in the Gaza Strip is extremely bad due to the deterioration of environmental resources, underinvestment in environmental systems, and lack of progress in priority environmental projects, and ineffective governance mechanisms.

During the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the current emergency urges us to research and focus on the pandemic’s consequences on most sensitive sectors, namely the environmental and health sectors, which are already exhausted and overstretched. It also brings back to the surface discussions on food production and sovereignty, which will also be addressed in the project.

Through technical papers, webinars, a documentary film, and radio episodes, PENGON addressed environmental rights in Gaza, focused on two priority topics: 

  1. The effects of environmental pollution on health and the unexamined connection to COVID-19  

    Air pollution, water contamination, and our immune systems are all risk factors for COVID-19. The project will address community vulnerability in these circumstances and develop recommendations for solutions on how to help communities be healthier and more resilient. 

  2. The need for food sovereignty during COVID-19

    Highlighting the limitations and shortcomings of food production, the need for food sovereignty, and exploring possible short-term alternatives and solutions. Read more…

PENGON also launched ‘Gaza Waiting The Worst‘, a short film that describes the current environmental and health situation in Gaza, reflecting the threats and the urgent need for intervention. 

PENGON and Real World Radio- Friends of Earth International also created two radio interviews that helped raise the voices of Palestinian women who are most affected by and vulnerable to these environmental conditions.

For more information contact:
Abeer Al Butmah
Coordinator of the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network
Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON)
Email: info@pengon.org