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Supporting public financial management in conflict‐affected situations

Adapting to change in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Albert Pijuan

Supporting the introduction of public financial management (PFM) processes and systems in conflict-affected situations can be challenging.

Having undertaken this role in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) after they came under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), we saw a combination of factors that made it extremely complicated for external actors to catalyse change. These included the absence of formal central governments when the PA was established, significant restrictions in the movement of people and goods, poorly designed donor budget support, and a very asymmetrical distribution of power.

Shifting from the status quo met with resistance; there was a lack of incentive for long-term institutional reform, not helped by donor-dependency, low-level but chronic conflict, and an unelected government.

Multi-faceted solutions were required to respond to this complex problem. We devised a dual delivery model, adopted by the Palestinian Governance Facility. This model encompasses adaptive interventions supporting longer-term PFM improvements, while also introducing a selective workstream targeting service delivery. This focuses on the management of external medical referrals, which was highlighted as a current political problem, but the flexibility of the model means that development assistance can be tackled when new reform areas emerge.

You can read more about the development of this model in our paper, ‘Supporting public financial management in conflict-affected situations: adapting to change in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’, written by Albert Pijuan and published by Wiley.