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United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People
“Assistance to the Palestinians — challenges and opportunities in the new reality of a State under occupation”
FAO Headquarters, Rome, 27 and 28 February 2013

Séminaire des Nations Unies sur l’assistance au peuple palestinien
Assistance au peuple palestinien — nouvelle réalité d’un État sous occupation: défis et opportunités
Siège de la FAO, Rome, 27 et 28 février 2013

    Over 160 representatives from 56 governments, 16 UN and other international institutions and 24 civil society organizations gathered in Rome at the end of February 2013 for a two-day UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People.

    The future of Palestinian institutions was closely linked to concrete achievements towards the two-State solution, and as such, failure to make tangible progress to that end “only means a continuation of the suffering, violence and instability in the whole region, Secretary – General Ban said in a message delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco. The Seminar was taking place at the time when the Palestinian Government was facing an “unprecedented” financial crisis that put at risk the significant achievements in institution-building made in recent years under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Mr. Ban reiterated the importance of the full transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues by Israel in a timely and predictable manner, and renewed his call on all donors, especially Arab countries, to fulfill their pledges and increase their support.

    The Seminar, organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, was the first such gathering since the General Assembly voted decisively in November 2012 to accord Palestine non-Member observer State status at the United Nations.

    Experts, joined by senior Palestinian officials, weighed the challenges and opportunities of developing a self-sustaining economy in the new reality of a State under occupation. While agreeing that the principal issues in Palestine were not economical but political, they nevertheless outlined programmes aimed at rebuilding the severely eroded Palestinian agriculture sector, ensuring high governance standards, and generating donor support for the reconstruction of Gaza.

    Experts stressed that the conditions of humanitarian strife in the West Bank and Gaza — severe restrictions on movement and constraints on livelihoods — were man-made, with the occupation practices creating a “protection crisis”. If allowed, the Palestinian people could effectively address their challenges themselves.

    Participants hailed the remarkable multi-sectoral achievements of the Palestinian Government and expressed appreciation of the vital efforts of the United Nations, the donor community, Palestinian and international civil society organizations and the private sector.

    Expressing gratitude for unwavering support, Palestinian officials at the meeting asked the donor community to challenge Israel’s detrimental policies on the ground by supporting reconstruction in Gaza and projects that would connect the West Bank to East Jerusalem, by promoting the development of Area C, and by demanding that settlement products be labeled as such. They urged to look for new ideas on how to move forward, while sharing a unanimous sentiment of seminar participants that a small window of opportunity, opening on the political front following the last year’s General Assembly resolution, should not be missed.


    Press releases:

    02/28/2013UNCTAD contributes to UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People - UNCTAD press release
    02/28/2013GA/PAL/1259UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People (Rome, 28 February) - Plenary III and Closing session - Press release
    02/28/2013GA/PAL/1258UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People (Rome, 28 February) - Plenary II - Press release
    02/27/2013GA/PAL/1257UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People (Rome, 27 February) - Plenary I - Press release
    02/27/2013GA/PAL/1255UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People (Rome, 27 February) - Opening session - Press release
    02/20/2013UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People opens in Rome (27 and 28 Feb. 2013) - Media advisory


    Follow @UNISPAL or #UNPalrights for updates


    OPENING SESSION
    • Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Arabic, English)
    • H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (English, French)
    • Ms. Fernanda Guerrieri, Directeur de Cabinet, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (English)
    • H.E. Mr. Nabil Kassis, Minister of Finance of the State of Palestine, Representative of the State of Palestine (English)

    Statements by representatives of Governments,
    intergovernmental organizations


    PLENARY I
    The impact of the occupation on the socio-economic
    and humanitarian situation in Palestine

    • Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham, Head of Office, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jerusalem (Presentation)
    • Ms. Amal Khreishe , Director General, The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, Ramallah (English)
    • Mr. Robert Turner, Director of Operations, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Gaza (Presentation)
    • Mr. Sergio Yahni, Co-director, Alternative Information Centre, Jerusalem (English)

    PLENARY II
    Palestinian National Development Plan 2011-2013 –
    current priorities, challenges and opportunities
    • Mr. Mahmoud Elkhafif, Coordinator, Assistance to the Palestinian People, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva (Arabic, English) (additional doc. Arabic, English)
    • Mr. Carlos Conde, Head of the MENA-OECD Governance Programme, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris (Presentation)
    • Mr. Mohammad A. Mustafa, Chief Executive Officer, Palestine Investment Fund, Ramallah (English)
    • Ms. Reham Al Wehaidy, Chairperson, Al Athar Global Consulting, Inc. ,Gaza (English)
    PLENARY III
    Urgent need for international assistance in support of
    the Palestinian economy following the UN vote
    • Mr. John Gatt-Rutter, European Union Representative to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and UNRWA, Jerusalem
    • Mr. James W. Rawley, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNSCO), Jerusalem (English)
    • Mr. Charles Silva, Country Director of Action against Hunger, Occupied Palestinian Territory Chairman, Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), Jerusalem (Presentation)
    CLOSING SESSION
    • H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations Representative of the State of Palestine
    • H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (English)
     
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