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Report of the Secretary-General
2. The first part of the report relates to action taken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA). In paragraph 1 of the resolution the Council invited UNDP as well as the other organizations of the system to intensify, as a matter of urgency and in co-ordination with ECWA, their efforts in identifying the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people. The second part of the report contains material submitted by the agencies and programmes of the United Nations system on action taken by them in implementation of the above paragraph of the resolution as well as paragraphs 2 and 3, under which the Council requests the organizations "to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, with a view to establishing and implementing concrete projects to ensure the improvement.of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people", and urges the executive heads to formulate and submit to their respective governing and/or legislative bodies proposals for ensuring the implementation of the resolution.
I. ACTION TAKEN BY THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AND BY THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR WESTER ASIA
1. As soon as the draft resolution (E/AC.24/L.528) was introduced on behalf of the Group of 77 at the Economic and Social Council in July 1976, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme sought advice from the substantive UNDP units concerned on the procedures to be followed in responding positively to the spirit and text of that resolution.
2. As a result of these consultations which included, inter alia, the Legal Offices of UNDP and of the United Nations, UNDP indicated to the Economic Commission of Western Asia that "the immediate task appears to be to carry out a study with, a view to identifying the social and economic needs" of the Palestinian people. This was made in recognition of the special role of ECWA in the region and in light of the fact that ECWA had been commissioned to carry out a study of the: economic potential of the Palestinian people. It was envisaged that once the needs of the Palestinian people had been identified, it would be possible for UNDP, in consultation and co-operation with the specialized agencies concerned, to develop priority projects in accordance with the provisions of Council resolution 2026 (LXI).
3. In his letter of 10 November 1976 to the Executive Secretary of ECWA, the UNDP Administrator further pointed out that while "once the needs have been identified, it will be possible to develop priority projects" when considering-proposed projects "it will have to be borne in mind that agreement of the host Governments will be necessary to make it possible for the activities to be carried out".
4. In November 1976, the President of the Palestinian National Fund (PNF) met with the UNDP Administrator in Kuwait, when views were exchanged on the possibilities of technical co-operation activities being sponsored by UNDP within the framework of Council and ECWA resolutions on the subject.
5. That meeting was followed up in December 1976 by an official communication to the President of PNF, confirming UNDP's willingness to consider, in co-operation with ECWA, appropriate requests for technical co-operation activities directed at generating economic and social progress for the Palestinian people.
6. In January 1977, a project proposal on a pre-feasibility study carried out in August/September 1976 by an ad hoc working group of three organizations, namely the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was received through the UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait. The request calls for a feasibility study for the establishment of an "Open University" for the Palestinian people to introduce modern, goal-oriented educational techniques, within the framework of a working arrangement between the proposed "Open University" and institutions of higher learning in the region. This proposal was appraised by the UNDP Bureau for Europe, Mediterranean and the Middle East, and transmitted to the Bureau for Programme Policy and Evaluation for in-depth technical appraisal. UNDP was later informed verbally by the President of PNF and in writing by UNESCO that financing for the implementation of the project had been secured and that there would therefore be no need for UNDP support in connexion with this project.
7. In response to the Administrator's communication of December 1976, the President of PNF informed the UNDP Administrator in February 1977 of his appreciation for UNDP's encouraging news of the possibility of assistance from UNDP to the Palestinian people in the implementation of Council resolution 2026 (LXI). The President of PNF further specified that while UNDP assistance at the project level would be appreciated, the main interest of PNF appeared to rest in exploring fully the possibilities of extended UNDP co-operation within the framework of the 1977-1981 cycle.
8. Further consultations with the substantive offices of UNDP and the United Nations concerned to identify possibilities of related financial allocations were undertaken by the Office of the Administrator and the Bureau for Europe, Mediterranean and the Middle East.
9. On behalf of the UNDP Administrator, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe, Mediterranean and the Middle East met in April 1977 with the President of PNF, during the fourth session of ECWA in Amman, to further discuss possible avenues of co-operation. The UNDP official was advised, inter alia, on this occasion, that PNF would prefer sponsorship by UNDP of "new" projects rather than support to ongoing ventures executed by United Nations agencies and related to the economic and social needs of the Palestinian people. Interest was further expressed during this meeting concerning co-operation between UNDP and ECWA and possible participation by United Nations specialized agencies in the following two fields:
Research and inventory of the historical and cultural heritage of the Palestinian people.
10. UNDP has been assisting, and continues to assist, the Institute of Education temporarily relocated in Amman, designed primarily to meet the educational needs of the Palestinian people. The current UNDP allocation to phase III of this successful project is $1 million. Since the beginning of the project in July 1972, UNDP has allocated a total of $2,312 million to this project which has been jointly executed by UNESCO and UNICEF in co-operation with UNRWA.
2. Under ECWA resolution 12 (II) ECWA has been asked to prepare a study on the economic and social situation and potential of the Palestinian people. ECWA has formed a task force within its secretariat in order to prepare for the implementation of the study. An inventory of potential candidates for the various posts required to carry out the project has been prepared and necessary contacts with them have been made. The secretariat of ECWA will shortly proceed with the recruitment of available candidates. PLO agreement had previously been obtained on the outline of the study.
3. In implementation of ECWA resolution 28 (III) dated l4 May 1976 concerning the census of the Arab Palestinian people, the ECWA secretariat initiated contacts and made the necessary arrangements for a preparatory expert group meeting in connexion with this census. The main purpose of the meeting, which was held early in June 1977 at Damascus, was to reach an expert opinion on the definition of the population to be surveyed for this census and the methodology for collecting data within and outside the Arab world. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities has agreed in principle to provide the necessary financing of this census, which is estimated to amount to $900,000.
II. ACTION TAKEN BY THE SPECIALIZED AGENCIES AND PROGRAMMES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
International Labour Organisation
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAQ)
1. In response to operative paragraph I of resolution 2026 (LXI), which called, inter alia, on the specialized agencies to co-ordinate with the Economic Commission for Western Asia their efforts in identifying the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people, by letter dated 25 August 1976, the Director-General of FAO sought the views and advice of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Western Asia on how the United Nations system, and FAO in particular, could contribute to implementing the resolution.
2. By a letter dated 15 September 1976, the Executive Secretary indicated in reply that he wished to consult with the competent persons at the Palestine Liberation Organization and would write further on this subject.
3. In accordance with paragraph 2 of the resolution, which requested the specialized agencies to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, with a view to establishing and implementing concrete projects to ensure the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people, also on 25 August 1976 the Director-General wrote to the Chairman of the Palestine National Fund, Palestine Liberation Organization, to solicit his views on the implementation of the resolution.
4. By a letter dated 21 February 1977, the Chairman indicated some possible steps and, in view of the various difficulties that they might entail, he offered to discuss the matter personally in due course.
5. Following this, the Director-General offered to receive the Chairman and is awaiting his response in this regard.
6. Council resolution 2026 (LXI) was brought to the attention of the FAO Council at its seventieth session held in Rome from 29 November to 10 December 1976. The Council was then informed that the Director-General was consulting the Executive Secretary of ECWA and the Palestine Liberation Organization on the matter. The Director-General also indicated that, in the light of their replies, he would be ready to formulate in due course proposals for consideration by the Council, in line with paragraph 3 of the resolution.
7. In the meantime, the Director-General approved on 4 June 1976 emergency food assistance from the World Food Programme for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, of an amount of 4,860 tons of food at a cost of $2,620,000. The Director-General also approved, on 16 May 19779 an UNRWA request, endorsed by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, for providing 5,000 tons of wheat flour at a cost of approximately $l,46l,000.
(a) Supervision of and technical responsibility for the education programme for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and in the occupied territories of the West Bank of the Jordan and the Gaza Strip. In 1977-1978, this programme will provide educational facilities for over 275,000 pupils in 577 school four teacher-training colleges, seven vocational and technical training centres and an education institute for in-service teacher-training. UNESCO will continue to provide the services of one director and 19 international specialists to the UNRWA/UNESCO Department of Education to examine prescribed textbooks, to finance the purchase of material and equipment to help improve the effectiveness of the education provided, to grant scholarships for further study to senior local staff and a number of Palestinian students and, if the situation continues to warrant it, to organize and supervise, as it has done in previous years, the Egyptian secondary school-leaving certificate examinations in the Gaza Strip; the cost of these measures for 1977-1978 is estimated at $2,624,000.
(b) Contributing to the operation of the UNRWA/UNESCO Institute of Education which organizes in-service training programmes and courses for Palestinian teachers. The Institute, which operated initially with a contribution from the Swiss Government - replaced since 1972 by a contribution from UNDP - used to have its headquarters at Beirut. Owing to the events that took place in Lebanon in 1975 and 1976, the Institute is currently operating provisionally in Amman. UNESCO continues to be the executing agency for the Institute and UNDP's contribution to the Institute in 1977/1978 amounts to $1 million.
UNESCO action designed to ensure access by the populations of the occupied Arab territories to national and education culture
3. In resolution 10.1, adopted at its seventeenth session (Paris, 1972), the General Conference requested the Director-General to "assemble information by all available means at his disposal on the national education and the cultural life of the populations in the occupied Arab territories and to report to the General Conference at its eighteenth session".
4. Pursuant to this resolution and as a result of contacts which the Director-General had with the Governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria on the one hand and with the Government of Israel on the other, as well as with the League of Arat States and the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and a number of non-governmental international organizations which seemed able to provide information on the subject, the Director-General appointed a mission headed by Mrs. M. P. Herzog, Director of the Human Rights Co-ordination Unit to visit the five countries in question and the occupied Arab territories in order to gather information regarding the educational institutions and cultural life in those territories.
5. The report of the mission was communicated to the General Conference at its eighteenth session (Paris 1972) under the symbol 18 C/l6.
6. In resolution 13.1, adopted at its eighteenth session the General Conference:
Invited the Director-General to supervise the operation of educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories, and to co—operate with the Arab States concerned and with the Palestine Liberation Organization with a view to providing the populations in the occupied Arab territories with every means of enjoying their rights to education and culture so as to preserve their national identity;
- Appealed to Israel to refrain from any act that has the affect of hindering the populations of the occupied Arab territories in the exercise of their rights to national education and cultural life, and invited at to allow the Director-General of UNESCO to carry out the task referred to in the foregoing paragraph.
7. In his report to the ninety-ninth session of the Executive Board (April-May 1976) (99 EX/50 and 99 EX/50 Addendum) the Director-General:
Informed the Board about the negotiations he had undertaken with the Governments concerned with a view to implementing resolution 18 C/13-1, and told the Board that he had not obtained from the Government of Israel the necessary facilities to send a mission to the occupied Arab territories to gather information on the state of education and cultural life in those territories:
Reported on the communications he had received from the four Governments directly involved, namely those of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Israel, as well as from certain Governments of Arab States concerned about historic and religious monuments in the occupied territories, from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), from the League of Arab States and from the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO).
8. The same report was also submitted to the General Conference at its nineteenth session (Nairobi, 1976). In resolution 19 C/15.1, adopted at that session, the General Conference:
- Invited the Director-General to implement as soon as possible his to send a fact-finding mission to the Arab territories occupied by Israel;
Renewed its appeal to Israel to co-operate in normalizing the situation;
Invited the Director-General to follow and supervise the operation of educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories with a view to guaranteeing the populations of those territories their rights to education and cultural life in such a way as to preserve their national identity.
9. Israel having agreed in principle to accept the UNESCO mission, the Director! General proposes to send it to the occupied territories and the four countries concerned as soon as the situation in the Middle East will allow him to do so, i order that the mission may take place in the best possible conditions.
Aid to the Palestinian people under resolutions 18 C/13.1 and 19 C/15.1 of the General Conference of UNESCO
10. By means of funds which the Director-General was able to make available under the regular budget of UNESCO for 1975/1976 and 1977/1978, the following projects have been executed in co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):
(a) Grant of 18 scholarships to Palestinian students and specialists ($40.000);
(b) Aid for gathering, in European countries, documentation on the Palestinians (two consultants recruited). Cost of the project: $18,000;
(c) Collaboration between UNESCO, the PLO and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in preparing a project concerning the establishment of an Open University for the Palestinians. UNESCO provided $72,000 and the Arab Fund provided $408,000 for the execution of the preliminary study; financial aid amounting to $8,000 was granted to the PLO to organize a symposium on the Open University;
(d) Grant to the PLO of financial aid amounting to $8,000 for the translation and publication of works relating to Palestinian literature.
2. Even before the 1976 World Health Assembly the Director-General had started to implement a programme of assistance, which consisted of furnishing health supplies and equipment to the hospitals providing this type of assistance in the current year.
3. At the same time, the fellowship programme introduced before the 1976 World Health Assembly in order to strengthen the knowledge of the local personnel responsible for providing care to the Palestinian population has proceeded. A number of candidates from the population of the territories concerned, were selected at the start of this year and will be found places in the European region, most probably at the start of the next academic year. To permit the development of this programme further fellowships will be available, especially in the field of radiology and radiotherapy and for the training of nurses and laboratory technicians.
4. Finally, the Director-General has also made arrangements to provide increased assistance for the on-the-spot training of allied health personnel" within this same context, the implementation of sanitation projects and the development of programmes for the prevention of infectious diseases have also been studied.
5. In resolution 30.37 the World Health Assembly, inter alia, noted with appreciation the role played by the Director-General in implementing World Health Assembly resolution 29.69, and requested him to continue collaborating with the Palestine Liberation Organization in providing technical and. material assistance to raise the level of health of the Palestinian population. It further requested the Director-General to continue to allocate the necessary funds for the improvement of the health conditions of the population in the occupied Arab territories and to ensure that such funds were used, under the direct supervision of WHO through its representative in the occupied. Arab territories.
6. Reference should also be made to the work of the Special Committee of Experts set up by the Director-General to study the health conditions of the inhabitants of the occupied territories in the Middle East in pursuance of World Health Assembly resolution 29.69.
"51. The Director-General said that it would be necessary and it was always his intention to enter into direct consultation with the Palestine Liberation Organization to discuss the possibilities of training proposed by him; pursuant to the suggestion of the delegation of the Sudan, he would now gladly extend such consultations as suggested by the delegation of the Sudan.
52. The delegation of Egypt thanked the Director-General for his direct, prompt and positive response to the proposal made by the delegation of the Sudan. The said delegation and the delegations of Cuba, Morocco and Qatar expressed their support for the said proposal.
"53. The delegation of Israel stated that, at the sixty-first session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, its Government had objected to Economic and Social Council resolution 2026 (LXl) and had expressed in detail its reasons for that objection: it therefore did not find it necessary to repeat that objection and those reasons. The delegation of Israel wished to record its strong objections to the proposals made by the delegation of the Sudan.
'54. The proposal of the delegation of the Sudan referred to in the last sentence of paragraph 50 above was approved and the views expressed on the matter were noted."
4. WIPO has indicated to the Permanent Observer of PLO that it remains at his disposal for further discussions concerning the establishment and implementation of concrete projects to ensure the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people, and WIPO expects that co-operation will continue.
2. Immediately following the 1967 war, UNICEF provided relief assistance to the affected (mainly Palestinian) population on both sides of the Jordan River.
3. During the 1970 disturbances in Jordan, UNICEF again provided emergency aid to the Palestinian children and mothers who were directly affected by the events.
4. Although not specifically directed at the Palestinian people, an important portion of UNICEF's regular programmes in Lebanon, Jordan and-, to a less extent the Syrian Arab Republic, benefit Palestinian children and women.
5. The UNICEF office in Beirut has held a series of discussions with the Planning Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization during the period preceding the Lebanese crisis. Though views were exchanged on possible avenues of co-operation, the actual development of assistance programmes for Palestinian children was not followed through because of the events in Lebanon.
6. At the height of the civil disturbances in Lebanon, UNICEF, with the agreement of the Lebanese authorities, provided part of its relief assistance directly to Palestinian children and women who were affected by the conflict. This aid was provided in consultation with PLO and the Palestinian Red Crescent. Items provided included milk-powder, medicines, vaccines and dietary supplements, blankets, children's clothing, soap bars, kitchen sets, and sewing machines. This assistance was distributed among the displaced Palestinians by PLO, the Red Crescent and the Lebanese Office of Social Development.
7. How that the UNICEF Beirut Office (which is responsible for programmes in Lebanon, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic) is back in operation, we anticipate discussions with the authorities of the host countries and PLO on the possibilities of developing longer-term assistance programmes which will directly benefit Palestinian children.
1. In June 1976 the Director-General of FAO approved emergency food assistance (total cost to WFP: $2,620,000) to Palestinian residents in Lebanon affected by civil disturbances. Implementation of this operation was deferred pending confirmation of the Government of Lebanon's readiness to sign the Letter of Understanding. This has now been received and shipment will commence as soon as the memorandum of understanding is signed.
2. In November 1976 the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic formally requested WFP to provide emergency food assistance by and large to replenish the stocks that had been used up to feed about 1 million Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian refugees for a period of one year. Since WFP does not provide assistance to replenish stocks used in the past, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic was informed that it was not possible to accede to its request. It was advised further to send detailed factual information to substantiate any future need. No such information has been received.
3. Afterwards a request was received directly from UNRWA for 5,000 tons of wheat flour as an emergency assistance for 100,200 Palestinian refugees. Since WFP's rules do not permit entering into any formal agreement with agencies like they were advised that the request would be considered only if it came from the Government with whom WFP could have direct dealings. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, therefore, submitted an official request for that purpose and designated UNRWA as the executing agency on behalf of the Government. This request was approved on 16 May 1977 at an approximate cost of $1,46l.000.
4. In spite of WFP's complete willingness to co-operate with the Palestine liberation Organization, as recommended by resolution 2026 (LXI) of the Economic and social Council, WFP assistance cannot reach the beneficiaries without full and formal support of the Government of the host countries. The need to receive requests and thereafter sign project agreements with the host Governments is dictated by the nature of the WFP assistance.