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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
25 July 1996

United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Executive Board

Hundred and fiftieth Session

150 EX/6
PARIS, 25 July 1996
Original: English

Item 3.2.1 of the provisional agenda



In this document, the Director-General reports to the Executive Board on the measures he has taken to give effect to 147 EX/Decision 3.4.6 and General Conference resolution 28 C/Resolution 16.
    Decision required: paragraph 28.

1. The Executive Board, at its 147th session, adopted 147 EX/Decision 3.4.6 in which it decided to include this item in the agenda of its 150th session. The General Conference during its twenty-eighth session, having examined document 28 C/15 and Add., adopted 28 C/Resolution 16 in which inter alia it notes with satisfaction the progress achieved in the implementation of the projects financed by extra-budgetary funds.

2. In that resolution, the General Conference stressed the importance that should be attached to ensuring the appropriate and effective follow-up and monitoring of UNESCO's activities in the field and to strengthening the role of the Local Aid Co-ordinating Committee of the United Nations system.

3. In effect, UNESCO's programme sectors were mobilized and were present in the field to implement different activities financed from the regular programme and through extrabudgetary funds. Moreover, the Director-General reduced overhead costs for assistance to the Palestinian people donations from 13 per cent to 5 per cent (and 0 per cent for scholarships and equipment). These activities were conceived in the light of the implementation of the General Conference resolution but are not limited to its operational paragraphs since they interpret a wider conception of the spirit of this resolution. Apart from the activities undertaken by the programme sectors, other activities were initiated to develop co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians, for the culture of peace, international co-operation and activities in which UNESCO played the role of facilitator.

4. In education, the model kindergarten in Gaza, the first phase of which was finished in October 1995, started its second phase in November 1995 (US $60,000 over a period of three years) and the project now provides training for early childhood teaching personnel, as well as fulfilling its primary function as a kindergarten. In this early childhood field, extrabudgetary funds from the Children-in-Need Foundation (US $50,000) were donated to the Association for Downs Syndrome Children in Gaza.

5. The rehabilitation of the 17 schools in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, financed by Saudi Arabia (US $2.5 million), was completed well before the deadline indicated in the Plan of Operations and the furniture has been delivered. The delivery and installation of teaching materials is almost completed. The second phase of the buildings for basic education, construction and rehabilitation in rural disadvantaged areas, is under discussion with Saudi Arabia and Italy.

6. Phase I of the Palestinian Curriculum Development Centre was concluded in August 1996 with the preparation of a five-year plan (US $300,000 donated by Italy). The second phase started in September 1996 thanks to a further contribution from Italy (US $450,000).

7. The project for capacity-building in educational policy formulation and management started in March 1995 for a period of two years. The second phase started in January 1996 with a workshop on capacity-building for educational management. A second workshop on training of trainers in school management also took place in Ramallah in July 1996 (US $730,000 financed by Italy).

8. Capacity-building in educational planning and budgeting is financed by Italy (April 1996). The implementation should begin soon after the signature of the Plan of Action (US $321,000).

9. On 22 May 1996, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Italy to UNESCO, informed the Organization that the Italian authorities had approved the financing of the project ‘Strengthening the Ministry of Education of the Palestinian Authority through the use of teaching materials for basic education and the training of teachers’ (US $2 million). The implementation of this project is already under way.

10. During the Director-General's visit to Saudi Arabia in May 1996, he signed with the Minister of Education an Agreement concerning a new aid of US $2.5 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the support of educational and cultural institutions of the Palestinian people. Project allocation is still under discussion.

11. In higher education, the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD) informed UNESCO in April 1996 that it had decided to support two Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) projects for a total amount of US $440,000. The funds will be transferred to UNESCO at the end of 1996 or beginning 1997. An Agreement between UNESCO and NORAD will precede the implementation of the following two projects: Physical learning environment (US $250,000) and Elaboration of a strategy for the rationalizing of the development of higher education (US $190,000).

12. The Programme for European-Academic Co-operation in Education (PEACE), which is supported by UNESCO and the European Union, has carried out major activities in the fields of higher education and science. Since the twenty-eighth session of the General Conference, the PEACE Programme has extended its membership from 47 to 55 universities in Europe and in North America. The Community of Mediterranean Universities (CUM) and the Midwestern Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) have also joined as collective members. Its activities have been focused on the following:

13. Within the framework of UNESCO's UNITWIN Programme, a contract was given to An-Najah National University (Nablus) to assume the co-ordinating functions to establish a Palestinian programme for the study of the causes and consequences of involuntary migration. The first seminar took place on 6 June 1996. This programme is part of an international UNITWIN network, initiated by Oxford University, for the study of the causes and consequences of the refugee phenomenon, displacement of persons and forced migration.

14. UNESCO has established a new Biotechnology Education and Training Centre (BETCEN) at the University of Bethlehem. From January 1995 to June 1996, intensive training in the use of plant tissue culture techniques was provided, during a four-week period to ten students (including two women scientists) from Al-Azhar, Birzeit, Bethlehem and Hebron Universities. Specialized laboratory equipment such as high-speed centrifuge, gelelectrophoresis equipment and multipurpose microscopes were provided to BETCEN. In addition, three specialized courses have been organized for laboratory technicians and researchers in plant tissue culture for development of ornamental plants and food crops.

15. Within the framework of the UNESCO fellowship bank, and under the sponsored fellowship scheme, five awards were made in favour of Palestinian students since the last General Conference (US $12,500). Five other grants for an amount of US $16,000 have been made for Palestinian students once confirmation of registration has been received. From the fellowships offered by the Philippine authorities, two candidates were selected and are expected to begin postgraduate studies in October/November 1996 for a period of two years.

16. Within the framework of the Participation Programme, an amount of US $68,100 has so far been granted for 1996, thus giving satisfaction to four requests presented by the Palestinian Authority. Other requests presented in this biennium will be studied favourably.

17. In the field of culture, the Bethlehem 2000 project was the major activity since the last General Conference. The Ecole d'Architecture de Paris-Belleville, in co-operation with the universities of Nablus and Birzeit, continued to prepare the safeguarding plan including the following projects: a new bus station, restoration of Manger Square, restoration of the Old City, Market Place and the city entrance, improvement of infrastructures and services to encourage the development of cultural tourism. The safeguarding plan outlining these different activities is in its final stage and will be ready before the end of the year. Parallel to this safeguarding plan, UNESCO started, in close co-operation with the Municipality of Bethlehem and its Technical Committee, to proceed with the preparation of the preliminary studies for a Master Plan for the development of Bethlehem and its region. The Mayor of Bethlehem requested the Director-General to take the initiative to sponsor the creation of two museums in Bethlehem, one a conceptual museum about the cultural history of Christianity and the other a museum for nativity scenes, including traditional and modern crêches, icons, reproduction of celebrated nativity paintings, etc. The Bethlehem 2000 Local Committee asked the Director-General to sponsor the organization of a universal concert under the auspices of UNESCO on 25 December 1999 at the Church of the Nativity.

18. The Bethlehem 2000 project was launched by two Appeals, one made by the Director-General of UNESCO, and the other by the Mayor of Bethlehem on behalf of President Arafat. This took place during the inauguration of the roving photographic exhibition at the University of Bethlehem on 21 April 1996. The exhibition was hosted in Nazareth in July and August under the auspices of the Municipality of Nazareth. According to its programme, in October it is on display at the gallery of the University of Haifa before going to Italy where it will be exhibited in Rome at Christmas 1996. A donation of US $40,000 was made by the Club Méditerranée as a contribution to the creation and organization of this photographic

19. Other activities, such as a conference on Palestinian music scheduled for March 1996 at Birzeit University or the workshop for Palestinian theatre directors and technicians, were postponed because of the precarious situation prevailing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the tragic events which endangered the peace process.

20. After the installation in 1995 of two television transmission units in Gaza and in Halhul (West Bank), UNESCO installed in 1996 another two transmission towers in Ramallah and Beit Jalah (West Bank).

21. A joint UNESCO/Italian mission was organized in May 1996 to carry out a feasibility study for the reconstruction and strengthening of the Palestinian News Agency WAFA.

22. UNESCO actively participated in the third United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting held last April in Gaza in the Offices of the Special Co-ordinator in the Occupied Territories in which 24 United Nations agencies and programmes participated. Donors, the World Bank and the Palestinian Authority were represented at this meeting, which was subdivided into six panels. At the opening of each panel of the six priority sector working groups the Palestinian representatives expressed the needs and priorities of the Palestinian people in each sector. UNESCO's PAPP projects were integrated in the different sector groups, that is to say the private sector, infrastructure and housing, employment generation, institution-building, health and education. The meeting adopted the strategy papers of its different sector groups.

23. UNESCO also participated in the United Nations seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people which took place in Cairo in May 1996. The theme of this seminar was ‘Building the Palestinian Economy’. The purpose of the seminar was to provide a framework for a dialogue on the various aspects of international assistance to the Palestinian people, problems of reconstruction of the Palestinian economy and institution-building.

24. From 1 to 2 June 1996, UNESCO sponsored with the League of Arab States and UNRWA a symposium organized in Cairo to develop the Palestinian education system whilst preserving its cultural identity and developing a curriculum for a modern society based on the culture of peace. This symposium had, as a follow-up, the signing of an Agreement between UNESCO and the League of Arab States concerning co-operation, within their spheres of competence, in all matters relating to the Palestinian autonomous territory and the Palestinian people.

25. UNESCO played the role of facilitator in other projects within the framework of peacebuilding, humanitarian activities and culture of peace. Among these activities and in a chronological order:

26. On 11 and 12 July, the third meeting of the joint UNESCO/Palestinian Co-ordinating Committee took place at UNESCO's Headquarters. During this meeting, the joint Committee discussed and evaluated the PAPP projects and decided to concentrate the activities of this extra-budgetary programme to a limited number of projects, in particular on: basic education, support for the PEACE Programme, Bethlehem 2000, an archaeological and natural park in Jericho, restoration of monuments in Gaza, museums, festivals and youth.

27. UNESCO continues to lend its moral support to the preservation of the identity and the human and social make-up of the occupied Syrian Golan and will examine favourably requests for fellowships in its fields of competence for students from this region.

28. The Executive Board may like to adopt the following decision:

United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Executive Board

Hundred and fiftieth Session

150 EX/6/Corr.
PARIS, 16 August 1996
Original: English/French/

Item 3.2.1 of the provisional agenda



Page 3 (English only):
    4th para., last line ‘Palestinian autonomous territories’ (and not ‘territory’)
Page 5 (English only):
    para. 24, penultimate line - ‘Palestinian autonomous territories’ (and not ‘territory’)
Same page (English and Arabic):
    para. 25 (a), second line - ‘Ministries’ with inverted commas
Page 6 (English and Arabic):
    (g), 1st line, ‘Mrs’ Arafat
Same page, same subpara., (English only):
    2nd line - ‘Minister’ with inverted commas
Pages 6 and 7 (Arabic, Chinese, English and French):
    paras. 26 and 28 (subparas. 3 and 7) ‘UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Co-ordinating Committee’

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