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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
8 April 2008

General Assembly
GA/10700

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly
Plenary
94th Meeting (AM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONCLUDES THEMATIC DEBATE AIMED AT GALVANIZING SUPPORT
FOR ACHIEVEMENT OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS BY 2015
 

‘2008 Must Be the Year of Action,’ Says Assembly President;
Proposes Annual Debate, Report by Secretariat to Monitor Progress

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.. during this morning’s debate, several observers and observer organizations took the floor to express their views.  For example, the Observer for Palestine said that the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, was the Palestinian people’s main and most formidable obstacle to achieving the millennium targets, and that in the past eight years, Israel’s illegal policies had actually reversed all previous progress.  According to World Bank figures, the Palestinian economy shrank by 40 per cent since 2000, negatively impacting on the Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.  He called for the international community’s full support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, which was not only a prerequisite for peace, but also for development and achieving the Goals. 

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RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said that the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, constituted the main and most formidable obstacle to the achievement of any form of sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals, as a whole, by the Palestinian people.  Over the past eight years, illegal policies by Israel had actually reversed all previous progress in that regard.  According to the World Bank, since 2000, the Palestinian real GDP had shrunk by 40 per cent.  That dire situation had negatively impacted on the Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.  The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) now warned that almost half the population did not have enough food to meet its needs.  The humanitarian crisis was a man-made disaster, caused by the occupation’s policies, especially the collective punishment that Israel continued to inflict on the Palestinian civilian population.  The situation in the Gaza Strip was most severe.


Education goals were also negatively impacted by the Israeli occupation, as well as the efforts to reduce child and maternal mortality and improve access to health care, he continued.  Environmental sustainability was also seriously harmed.  The international community should give special attention to the unique circumstances and challenges facing the Palestinian people.  Development could not coexist with oppression and hegemony, the worst manifestation of which was foreign occupation.  The Palestinian people had clearly asserted their desire for peace and a life of freedom, dignity and prosperity for their children.  Those goals also undoubtedly encompassed the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which would help to lift the Palestinian people out of the misery the occupation had imposed on them.  He, thus, reiterated his call for the international community’s full and firm support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which was a prerequisite not only for peace, but also for development.  Without that, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would regrettably remain out of reach. 

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