Corona Virus Outbreak Repercussions on Local Authorities in Position Paper

05 Jul 2020
Corona Virus Outbreak Repercussions on Local Authorities in Position Paper

The Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) issued a position paper in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Palestine and the resulting significant losses to many sectors,  particularly local government authorities, which were among the few institutions that continued working despite the scarcity of resources and growing needs. This position paper presented a monitoring of the efforts of local authorities in response to the needs of the Palestinian people since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, conducted a rapid survey of the needs of these authorities in order to prepare for the gradual post-coronavirus phase, conduct detailed studies of all the effects of this pandemic, and present the mechanisms to be adopted to deal with it.

According to the position paper issued in late May 2020, this crisis has negatively affected local authorities and led to a sharp reduction of at least half in revenues on the one hand and increased expenses on the other, requiring emergency interventions to enable local authorities to continue their tasks and get out of this crisis with minimal damage. These interventions have been summarized in the following aspects:

  • Accelerate the development and activation of the transferal mechanism between the government and the local authorities
  • Provide emergency operational budgets as a result of the decline in local economic activities and available revenues
  • Allocate part of the public budget to local authorities in Palestine.
  • Address problems associated to the debt accumulation of local authorities "net lending"
  • Provide support to Local Government Units, especially in the field of disaster management and response
  • Strengthen the Capacities of Local Government Units to deliver better services to citizens
  • Strive to find creative solutions to solve the solid waste problems.
  • Continue to amend the laws and legislations system that regulate the local government sector
  • To direct funding towards local economic development projects and partnership projects between the private sector and the local authorities
  • Develop the dependence on technological means in the provision of services and communication between citizens and local authorities
  • Launch community outreach programs and awareness campaigns targeting key and priority issues related to the work of local authorities

This position paper highlights the efforts made by local authorities through their rapid response to the unlimited needs that emerged in the wake of the declaration of a state of emergency following the spread of the coronavirus and their coping with utmost responsibility and national commitment to their citizens. The paper notes that the local authorities did not only exercise their functions in the pandemic, but also played additional roles beyond their tasks and functions and have spared no effort to provide all their capabilities and equipment to support the competent ministries, governors, medical staff and emergency committees through emergency plans and programs prepared by them to deal with the consequences of this crisis. Local authorities have intensified their efforts to collect waste and maintain hygiene and have continued to work to sterilize public places and institutions. The plans of local authorities also included mechanisms to provide support to citizens at various levels through the formation of voluntary support committees of individuals, institutions and community and national forces to provide all means of community support, and to provide guidance and awareness support to citizens, especially in so-called areas “C” where the burden is greater and responsibilities are more complex.