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Source: Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
14 September 2004



Arab and International Figures Will Convene to Discuss Rehabilitation and Development in Palestine Next Month

Beirut, 14 September 2004 (United Nations Information Service)- Senior Arab and international figures will come together in mid-October to discuss and propose solutions for the process of rehabilitation and development in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).

This Forum asserts the responsibilities of the Arab and international community and their commitment to the Palestinian people. It is a response to the numerous resolutions made by the UN Security Council and General Assembly concerning the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including a viable, independent Palestinian state.

High-level Palestinian, Arab and international representatives of government and civil society and international financial institutions, research centers, UN organizations, and concerned international bodies are expected to take part in this forum, which is being held in Beirut under the auspices of the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Emile Lahoud, from 11 to 14 October 2004.

The "Arab-International Forum on Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Towards an Independent State" aims to enhance mechanisms for forging partnerships between Arab and Palestinian entities on several levels, thereby assisting the Palestinian people to overcome the repercussions of the occupation as well as to address future challenges. During the forum, the Palestinian vision, priorities, and future plans on rehabilitation and development in the various economic and social sectors will be presented. Based on this vision, specific, effective initiatives to enhance bilateral and multilateral partnerships on the level of government entities, civil society institutions, funds and organizations will be taken.

In an effort to bolster rehabilitation and development efforts and to come up with effective mechanisms to enhance Arab support, ESCWA organized a number of preparatory activities for the Forum, including: A Palestinian Consultative Meeting (Ramallah, 21-22 April 2004); a Workshop on Arab-Palestinian Civil Society Partnership (Beirut, 9-10 June); an Experts Meeting on the Role of the Palestinian Diaspora in the Rehabilitation and Development Process in the OPT (Amman, 29-30 July 2004); a Workshop on Palestinian-Arab Private Sector Partnership (Dead Sea, 4-5 September 2004); and a Meeting of Arab Economic Organizations and Funds (LAS Cairo, 7-8 September 2004).

The Forum is an implementation of two resolutions made at ESCWA ministerial sessions in 2001 and 2003, a decision by the Palestinian Cabinet last July, as well as two decisions by the League of Arab States (LAS) made on the ministerial level in September 2003 and on the level of the summit in its 16th regular session last May.

Various cultural activities will take place in parallel to the forum, including exhibitions for fine arts, books, crafts, photographs, and children’s drawings in addition to a night of folklore dancing, a poetry evening, and a Beirut screening of the Ramallah International Film Festival.

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