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International meetings and conferences
The Division for Palestinian Rights is mandated by the General Assembly to organize international meetings and conferences in all regions, in consultation with the Committee and under its guidance. The Committee considers that the programme of meetings and conferences helps promote a constructive analysis and discussion of the various aspects of the question of Palestine and mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.
In the programme of international meetings and conferences, priority is given to promoting the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, supporting the political process and encouraging international efforts, such as the road map of the Quartet, for a peaceful solution of the conflict. The Committee also holds annual regional meetings, with the venue rotating from Africa to Asia to Latin America and the Caribbean, which draw on the experience of the countries in those regions in their struggle for national independence and sustainable economic development. They are also geared towards mobilizing public opinion in the regions in support of the Palestinian people.
International conferences convened under the auspices of the Committee are designed to focus wide international attention on specific aspects of the question of Palestine, such as the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the Bethlehem 2000 project and Palestine refugees. Equally significant were the International Meeting on the Convening of the Conference on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem (1999) and the International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem (2004).
Starting in 1993, the Committee has convened virtually every year, in either Europe or the Middle East, a seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people. These seminars deal with various aspects of the socio-economic development of the Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, such as the serious crisis of the Palestinian economy and the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinian people.
Additional information about the aforementioned events is available on the Internet at http://www.un.org/depts/dpa/ngo/calendar.htm. Reports summarizing their proceedings are available online, in UNISPAL, or can be obtained in hard copy from the Division for Palestinian Rights.
Cooperation with civil society
On the basis of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society, which started in connection with the preparations for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine held in 1983 in Geneva, the General Assembly mandated the Division to increase its contacts with NGOs and convene meetings for NGOs in different regions in order to heighten awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine, a mandate that is being renewed every year. Since 1983, the Committee has accredited more than 700 civil society organizations that have programmes in support of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The Division liaises with over 1,000 organizations in all regions that have a special interest in the question of Palestine. A separate information note entitled “The United Nations and Non-Governmental Organization Activities on the Question of Palestine”, providing more details on the accreditation process, criteria and guidelines, as well as other relevant information, is also available online and in hard copy from the Division for Palestinian Rights.
Civil society organizations are invited to all aforementioned international meetings and conferences organized under the auspices of the Committee. More recently, NGO meetings in solidarity with the Palestinian people have been organized in conjunction with international meetings. Also, regional meetings usually include a one-day civil society event. Three major events for civil society organizations were the United Nations International Conferences of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People held at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2002, 2003 and 2004. The Conferences focused their deliberations on ending the occupation. The Committee intends to continue to convene annually international gatherings of civil society.
As the Committee encourages cooperation, coordination and networking among civil society organizations, the Division maintains contacts with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms and periodically holds consultations with various organizations on ways and means of enhancing cooperation with civil society. On occasion, representatives of the Committee or staff members of the Division participate in conferences and meetings organized by civil society organizations.
Research, monitoring, publications and the United Nations Information System on the
Question of Palestine
The Division has been requested to monitor political and other relevant developments affecting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The collection and dissemination of information by the Division are considered by the Committee as being of particular importance to its endeavours to make a constructive contribution to the peace process, in support of efforts at reaching a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.
The programme of work of the Division includes the preparation of the following publications, on a regular basis:
º A periodic bulletin entitled “Developments related to the Middle East Peace Process”
º A monthly chronological summary of relevant events based on press reports and other publicly available sources
º A special bulletin on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
º An annual compilation of resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council relating to the question of Palestine
In response to a General Assembly mandate contained in resolution 46/74 B of 11 December 1991, the Division has developed UNISPAL, with a view to creating an electronic facility which would contain, in a full-text format, all significant United Nations documents relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine. These documents are available on the Internet at http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf as part of the United Nations web site that also features a separate section on the question of Palestine at http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal.
Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority
As requested by the Committee and subsequently mandated by the General Assembly, the Division has conducted an annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority since 1996. The programme is carried out at United Nations Headquarters in New York in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, from September to December each year, in conjunction with the convening of the General Assembly. It is designed to help staff of the Palestinian Authority, usually two per year, familiarize themselves with the various aspects of the work of the United Nations. The trainees are also expected to conduct research and prepare papers.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed annually. The Day commemorates the General Assembly’s adoption on 29 November 1947 of resolution 181 (II), which provided for the partition of Palestine into two States. The observance takes place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna and elsewhere. The event includes solemn meetings, at which statements are made by high-level officials of the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations, as well as by representatives of the international network of NGOs on the question of Palestine. It also usually includes, at Headquarters, the display of a Palestinian exhibit, film showings and other activities. At other locations, various activities are organized by governmental bodies and NGOs, in cooperation with the United Nations Information Centres around the world.