Mr. Töpfer has been invited to meet with Israeli Environment Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Palestinian Environment Minister Yousef Yousef Abu Safieh. He will also consult with a range of environmental experts. This high-level visit will be prepared by a UNEP technical mission in mid June.
The "desk study" will outline the state of the environment and identify major areas of environmental damage requiring urgent attention. It will be based on interviews with officials and experts and a review of existing data. If necessary, the study will be followed up by field visits aimed at generating proposals on how to improve environmental conditions.
The decision to assess the environmental situation in the Palestinian Territories was taken unanimously in February 2002 by the UNEP Governing Council at its Seventh Special Session/Global Ministerial Environment Forum. UNEP is required to report back to the Governing Council at its next meeting in February 2003.