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Source: UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
26 September 1995



28 C/15
26 September 1995
Original: French
Item 5.2 of the provisional agenda


IMPLEMENTATION OF 27 C/RESOLUTION 18,
CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES:
REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL



SUMMARY

The Director-General submits to the General Conference a report on the measures he has taken to give effect to the resolution.

1. The General Conference at its twenty-seventh session, having examined document 27 C/21 and endorsing the proposal submitted by the Executive Board in 142 EX/Decision 5.3.1, adopted 27 C/Resolution 18 in which inter alia it decided to include this item in the agenda for its twenty-eighth session.

2. In that resolution the General Conference stated its belief that, as a result of the signature in Washington on 13 September 1993 of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, UNESCO’s action in favour of the Palestinian people was ‘of the highest priority and that it must begin immediately after the transfer of authority from the Israeli administration to the Palestinian authorities in the fields of education and culture provided for in Article VI of the above-mentioned Declaration of Principles, and that this action must be planned and must cover all aspects of the education system and the educational and cultural institutions, notably in the fields of training and structures’.

3. On 9 December 1993, in Granada (Spain), the Director-General, in accordance with the mandate given to him by the General Conference and in order to facilitate the implementation of that resolution, signed with Chairman Yasser Arafat a memorandum of co-operation between the Palestine Liberation Organization and UNESCO. That memorandum has served as a basis for the preparation of an overall plan for the reconstruction of the Palestinian educational and cultural systems.

4. In January - February 1994 the Director-General set up a unit to co-ordinate assistance to the Palestinian people. This unit, placed under the authority of the ADG/DRG, is responsible for planning, co-ordinating, implementing and evaluating the assistance activities.

5. On 29 and 30 April 1994 a plan of action was adopted by the Joint PLO-UNESCO Co-ordination Committee in Tunis. This plan of action comprises 26 activities, including eight for immediate implementation.

6. A second meeting of the Joint UNESCO-Palestinian Authority Co-ordination Committee (2-4 May 1995 at Ramallah in the West Bank) led to the drawing up of the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP).1 This programme comprises 27 projects, seven of which are under way. The overall cost of these projects has been estimated at US $37,010,000. They have taken account of five priority objectives, namely (a) development of Palestinian institutions in UNESCO’s fields of competence, (b) utilization of human resources, (c) creation of jobs, (d) consolidation of the peace process in the Middle East, and (e) building of a modem society.

7. As soon as the PAPP had been adopted, preliminary contacts took place at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, in particular with the development agencies but also with the private sector. Following these initial consultations, certain PAPP projects will be financed under bilateral co-operation, with UNESCO acting as ‘facilitator’, while others will be implemented with the support of several donors.2

8. In the field of education, technical and financial assistance has been granted to the Palestinian ‘Ministry’ of Education to facilitate its consolidation. UNESCO is providing technical support for the structuring and development of that ‘ministry’: a programme of studies abroad - in Finland, Malaysia and Mauritius - has been organized for senior officials. Before the PAPP was drawn up other projects were undertaken with the support of extra-budgetary contributions: for example 17 schools were renovated through the generosity of Saudi Arabia, and a kindergarten was constructed with the financial assistance of Daimler- Benz.

9. In anticipation of the transfer of power from the Israeli Administration to the Palestinian Authority in the fields of education and culture, UNESCO, at the request of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education, sent out a mission with instructions to examine the situation of the Palestinian universities, particularly in the fields of science and technology. The mission’s task was to assess the state of higher education institutions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, paying particular attention to the following aspects: (a) adequacy of human resources, (b) programmed and curricula, (c) institutional facilities including libraries, (d) special services, (e) training resources, (f) funding sources and financial sustainability, and (g) institutional framework and external linkages, and to make recommendations concerning them.3

10. On the subject of inter-university co-operation, UNESCO and the European Commission financed the Conference of the Palestinian European Academic Co-operation in Education Programme (PEACE). The Conference took place in November 1994 at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium) and made it possible to expand the programme, which now groups together 47 member institutions4 as against the initial 18:29 in Europe, ten in the United States and eight Palestinian.5

11. UNESCO, in co-operation with the Palestinian authorities concerned, has carried through a general study on the school system and its needs to promote the development of the Palestinian ‘Ministry’ of Education.6

12. In January 1994 the Italian Government pledged the sum of $300,000 to support the first phase of the creation of a Palestinian centre for curriculum development. Thanks to its generosity, the centre was established on 1 July 1995.

13. In keeping with recent developments in the peace process, UNESCO and UNRWA have increased their consultations to adapt their co-operation programmes in the light of the changing situation. In consequence, 78 EX/Decision 7.4, concerning school textbooks, has become obsolete.

14. The International Institute for Educational Planning has organized a series of training courses aimed at strengthening educational planning and management capacities. This programme is continuing, with the financial support of Italy.

15. A workshop organized by the ‘Ministry’ of Education and Higher Education and UNESCO with the support of ILO, UNIDO and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, on future Palestinian policies in regard to technical and vocational education, was held in July 1995 (see PAPP documents and 147 EX/13).

16. In his circular letter of 25 February 1994, the Director-General urged Member States to contribute to the fund for higher education scholarships for Palestinian students and also to study the possibility of providing assistance in the form of ‘sponsored’ scholarships. Burkina Faso, the Russian Federation, Israel, the Philippines and the Czech Republic have responded to this appeal. Other scholarships have been granted under the regular programme and the Participation Programme.

17. Numerous other activities have been undertaken by UNESCO in response to the special situation pertaining in the autonomous Palestinian territories. In the field of communication and information, for example, training courses have been provided and two transmitters supplied for the ‘Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC)’.

18. Italy has agreed to finance a feasibility study aimed at the reconstruction and strengthening of the Palestinian Press Agency (WAFA). For this purpose, a joint UNESCO-Italy mission is scheduled to take place before the end of 1995.

19. In the field of science, a study has been carried out on wells and springs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a view to evaluating maintenance needs and water quality. Moreover, UNESCO has given its financial and technical support to a Palestinian university to assist its integration into Internet. A biotechnology laboratory has also been supplied.

20. In the field of culture, UNESCO has provided technical assistance to the ’Ministry’ of Culture and Communication and the ‘Ministry’ of Antiquities and Tourism. France has given its technical support for heritage conservation, and Luxembourg has decided to support financially the restoration of sites and monuments in Jericho. A campaign to restore the old city of Bethlehem is also under way. This campaign will be initiated by a photographic exhibition in Paris towards the end of 1995 and is intended to highlight the qualities of the city’s historic centre to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the Nativity (the ‘Bethlehem 2000’ project).

21. These activities have been conceived and undertaken in close co-ordination with the ‘Special United Nations Co-ordinator in the Occupied Territories’, who is based in Gaza. UNESCO takes part in the inter-agency meetings through the donor co-ordination machinery, which has taken the form of the ‘Local Aid Co-ordinating Committee’, composed of sectoral working groups established in situ for that purpose. The secretariat of the working group on education is provisionally being provided by UNICEF pending a permanent UNESCO presence in the area. The establishment of a sectoral working group for culture and communication also depends on a UNESCO presence, as UNESCO is meant to provide its secretariat.

22. The Director-General is pursuing his efforts with the Israeli authorities to preserve the human and social configuration of the occupied Syrian Golan. In application of 27 C/Resolution 18, scholarships have been granted to Syrian students from the Golan in UNESCO’s fields of competence.

23. Since the inclusion of this question in the agenda for the 82nd session of the Executive Board, in 1969, and for the seventeenth session of the General Conference, in 1972, UNESCO has for the first time been able to take action on all aspects of the mandate set out in 27 C/Resolution 18, with the exception of paragraph 10, which has been only partially implemented for reasons outside its control.

24. In this new era marked by the beginning of the peace process in the Middle East, UNESCO, under the impetus of its Director-General, has undertaken, sparing no effort in its fields of competence,7 to carry out its mission of peace and help strengthen the movement initiated in Oslo.


Notes

1 See document containing the proposed projects entitled ‘Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People’, issued by the Palestinian Authority-UNESCO, Gaza-Paris, 17 May 1995.

2 For more detailed information, refer to the annex to document 147 EX/13.

3 In this connection, see the full set of analyses and recommendations in the UNESCO report entitled ‘Higher education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip’, Volume I ‘Overview of the system and the needs of the reconstruction process and recommendations’ and Volume II ‘Project proposals for strengthening higher education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip over the 1994-1998 period’.

4 It should be noted that the number of member institutions is not final as it is still growing steadily.

5 See the brochure entitled ‘Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People; constructing peace (1995- 1996-1997)’ and the working document entitled ‘Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People’, May 1995, prepared by the Palestinian Authority and UNESCO.

6 See the document entitled ‘Primary and secondary education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - overview of the system and needs for the development of the “Ministry” of Education’, June 1995, UNESCO-PARIS.

7 For further details, see documents 144 EX/7 & Add., 145 EX/9 Rev., 146 EX/13 and 147 EX/13, which have already been distributed to Member States. The respective decisions of the Executive Board, namely 144 EX/Decision 4.2.1, 145 EX/Decision 5.2.1 and 146 EX/Decision 5.2.1, are annexed. The decision relating to document 147 EX/13 will be distributed as an addendum as soon as it is adopted by the Executive Board.



ANNEX

4.2 Education

4.2.1 Application of 142 Eli/Decision 5.3.1 concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories (144 EX/7 and Add. and 144 EX/40)

(144 EX/SR.7, 8)
5.2 Education

5.2.1 Application of 144 EX/Decision 4.2.1 concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories (145 EX/9 Rev. and 145 EX/51, Part I)



(145 EX/SR.17)


5.2 Education

5.2.1 Application of 145 Eli/Decision 5.2.1, concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories (146 EX/13 and 146 EX/52)

(146 EX/SR.14)

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