Palestinian National Authority

Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State

Program of the Thirteenth Government

August 2009

Table of Contents



Our Vision of the State of Palestine

Foundational Principles

National Goals

Institutional Development

Sector Priorities, Policies and Programs:

Institutional Development

Success in achieving national goals requires that high priority be given to developing the public institutions in the PNA. Maintaining an efficient and effective public sector that provides citizens with high quality services and value for money is a constant challenge. Like all governments around the world, we need to be responsive to political, economic, social and cultural changes in their countries and to adapt public sector structures, institutions and staffing accordingly. For us, however, the challenge is deeper and more complex. We have to develop our public institutions to bear the responsibility and burden of ending the occupation and establishing an independent state in the face of exceptional adversities that we must confront and overcome. To this end, the Government is committed to consolidating and building on the achievements of previous governments in building a responsive, transparent, accountable, efficient and effective Palestinian public sector. We embrace this task as part of our duty to do all in our power to serve our citizens, despite the severe constraints imposed upon us by the occupation regime. We have called upon Palestinian civil society and the private sector to join us in this mission in the belief that, working together, we can build even better institutions to accelerate the development of a free and sovereign State of Palestine.

The Government has identified its main institution-building priorities in five core areas: the legal framework; organizational structures and processes; the use of technology in government; management of national financial resources; and management of human resources in the civil and security sectors. These are our top priorities, to which we will devote most of our attention over the coming months prior to the national elections in January 2010. We will also continue to give attention to the many other ongoing institutional reform activities set forth in the PRDP 2008-10.

Unification and modernization of the legal framework

The Palestinian legal framework comprises an array of laws and regulations inherited from a succession of foreign regimes – Ottoman, British, Jordanian, Egyptian and Israeli. In some cases the laws and regulations applied in the West Bank differ from those applied in Gaza. This, coupled with the fact that aspects of the legal framework are outdated, presents all manner of challenges to ensuring good governance.

One of the highest priorities of the Government will be to finalize the ongoing comprehensive review of the Palestinian legal and regulatory framework. It is essential that this review and modernization of the legal framework is taken forward in a coordination fashion, sector by sector, through full consultation between all relevant government, civil society and private sector institutions. We are also working to build effective justice sector institutions to ensure that all laws, regulations and procedures are consistently applied and enforced throughout Palestine.

Rationalization of government organizational structures and processes

The organizational structure of the government, both in terms of the number of ministries and agencies and their internal structures, is of moderate size and uncomplicated by regional standards. Nevertheless, this structure will be subject to a general review in order to address major deficiencies and to eliminate any duplication that wastes Palestinian resources. All citizens are entitled to be served by an economical and well-managed public sector organized to deliver high quality social, justice and security services at a reasonable cost.

The Government will launch a review of its organizational structure and core processes. This review will be conducted on a sector-by-sector basis through a participatory and consultative process, and will be rooted in the foundational principles mentioned above, particularly the separation of powers, efficiency and effectiveness.

Information and communications technology

The more widespread use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the Palestinian public sector represents a huge opportunity to increase its efficiency and effectiveness in delivering services to our people. It also provides many opportunities for greater government transparency, accountability and better communication with citizens. There is a vibrant ICT sector in Palestine which can contribute to and benefit from a government-wide initiative to computerize public sector services and processes.

Many ministries and agencies are already in the process of increasing the use of ICT in schools, hospitals and offices. The Government will work with relevant academic and private sector institutions to ensure a comprehensive and coherent strategy for accelerating the adoption of state-of-the-art ICT in the public sector. The strategy will be founded on the basic principle that local capacity and businesses will be the preferred providers of ICT goods and services.

Financial resources management

The occupation regime has placed severe limitations on the fiscal and monetary policy instruments available to the PNA to manage the Palestinian economy. This, along with the suffocating economic impact of the occupation, has rendered the PNA’s fiscal position especially vulnerable to the fluctuation of political and security relations with Israel and the international community. Over the years the PNA has sought to deal with economic stagnation and contraction, and resultant rises in unemployment and poverty, through increases in public sector employment and salaries. During periods of acute instability, these measures helped prevent complete collapse of the Palestinian economy and social order. However, there have been significant consequences for the PNA’s fiscal situation, limiting the resources available to fund other operating and development expenditure.

The Government will continue with policies and measures designed to restrict growth of the public sector wage bill. Most importantly, we will strengthen and rehabilitate our national economy to create job opportunities in the private sector. We will also continue to integrate policymaking, planning and budgeting processes as an important element of a strategy to make government more accountable for the national resources it spends, including development projects financed by the donor community, in line with a national policy framework that reflects a truly Palestinian vision and Palestinian priorities. The Government will also continue the work of previous governments to upgrade its expenditure and accounting systems and processes in order to further enhance transparency and accountability for public finances.

Human resources management

The effective functional performance of any organization depends on the quality and dedication of its employees. This requires a culture and work ethic geared towards continuous capacity development and performance improvement. Building this culture depends on internal human resources management systems and processes that guarantee effective recruitment, training and staff performance evaluation. An appropriate system of incentives is also required to encourage and reward good performance, whilst proactively addressing poor performance.

The 13th government will launch a review of human resources management systems and procedures to identify and implement key reforms to public sector recruitment, personal development and staff performance evaluation mechanisms. We are determined to implement professional, merit-based systems and processes that will ensure equal opportunity and fairness in recruitment and promotion decisions. We will also review public sector pay and pensions to ensure that they provide an appropriate incentive structure for staff of all categories and grades. Implementing these new arrangements will require some fundamental changes to the Civil Service Law and related executive regulations.

The majority of public sector employees work hard to deliver basic health, education and security services in our clinics, our hospitals, our schools, our universities, and on our streets. In too many cases, particularly in Gaza, they sometimes do this at great personal risk. In recent years, successive governments have struggled to pay their employees on a regular and timely basis. Despite financial difficulties it faces, the Government will continue to make every effort to ensure that all of its financial obligations, including its employees, are settled in a timely manner. The Government calls upon all civil servants to re-dedicate themselves to the service of the nation and the public interest. Their commitment and hard work is essential to the collective national effort to defy and end the occupation. They play a critical role in supporting and preserving the steadfastness of Palestinian citizens in their struggle for freedom and independence.

Next: Sector Priorities, Policies and Programs >>

Return to Table of Contents


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017