Question of Palestine home
UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
26 September 1995
26 September 1995
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
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).
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.
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.
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 institutions
as against the initial 18:29 in Europe, ten in the United States and eight Palestinian.
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.
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
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,
to carry out its mission of peace and help strengthen the movement initiated in Oslo.
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.
For more detailed information, refer to the annex to document 147 EX/13.
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’.
It should be noted that the number of member institutions is not final as it is still growing steadily.
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.
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,
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.
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)
The Executive Board,
that the right to education is universally recognized by many international legal instruments, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1958), the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education and the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949),
that, regrettably, armed conflict and foreign occupation, notably in the Palestinian territories, Syrian Golan and occupied South Lebanon, have often been destructive factors with regard to those rights,
that the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement signed on 13 September 1993 in Washington, entitled ‘Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements’, opens up a new era of peace and harmony,
that the Memorandum of Co-operation signed by the President of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mr Yasser Arafat, and the Director-General, Mr Federico Mayor, in Granada on 9 December 1993, is an important instrument following on logically from the Declaration of Principles,
of the vital role of UNESCO in contributing to the establishment of cultural and educational institutions and to the training, within its fields of competence, of the key Palestinian personnel and specialists needed for human development,
that UNESCO, faithful to its universal mission and its Constitution, will be able to make an effective contribution, in close cooperation with the relevant Palestinian authorities, to the reconstitution of an education system, taking into consideration the demands dictated by the special situation of a people emerging from a long period of foreign occupation and moving into an age of modernity, progress and peace,
that UNESCO’s action in this new phase is 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 6 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,
that the implementation of UNESCO’s programmed for the occupied Arab territories, within its fields of competence, depends on the application of all the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations;
its deep concern at the delay in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, preventing the transfer of authority to the Palestinians, in particular in the fields of education, culture, science and communication, and hindering the work of UNESCO;
that UNESCO will spare no effort to assist in the establishment and consolidation of peace through education, culture, science and communication;
that the reconstitution and development of the education system in the occupied Arab territories must receive UNESCO’s full attention;
previous UNESCO decisions and resolutions on the subject;
its full satisfaction at the conclusion of the Memorandum of Co-operation between the PLO and UNESCO and pays tribute to President Yasser Arafat and Director-General Federico Mayor for achieving this agreement;
the Director-General for his efforts to ensure the implementation of the Executive Board’s decisions;
the Director-General to pursue his efforts in accordance with the mandate given to him for this purpose by the General Conference and to take immediately the measures necessary for the implementation of the activities provided for in the Memorandum of Co-operation, and the recommendations of the Mission on Higher Education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (144 EX/7 Add.);
the Director-General to provide, within UNESCO’s fields of competence, the assistance required by schools to preserve Arab cultural identity and provide scholarships for students of occupied Syrian Golan;
the Director-General to pursue, within his fields of competence, his efforts with the Israeli authorities in order to preserve the human and social configuration of occupied Syrian Golan in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted on the subject;
the Director-General to pursue, on the basis of the Executive Board decisions, the efforts that he has already undertaken with regard to the occupied Arab territories;
an urgent appeal to Member States and to the financial institutions and foundations concerned to contribute the financing of the fund for higher education scholarships for Palestinian students and to the financing of projects submitted by UNESCO within the framework of the Co-ordinating Unit for Assistance to the Palestinian People;
to include this question on the agenda of its 145th session.
(144 EX/SR.7, 8)
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)
The Executive Board.
that the right to education is universally recognized by many international legal instruments, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education and the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949),
that the exercise of this right has frequently been seriously hampered by armed conflicts and foreign occupation in the occupied Arab territories,
that the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement signed on 13 September 1993 in Washington, entitled ‘Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements’, and the Agreement on the Interim Period concluded on 4 May 1994 in Cairo open up a new era of peace and harmony,
to the ‘Memorandum of Co-operation’ between the PLO and UNESCO, signed in Granada (Spain) on 9 December 1993, and to the Plan of Action adopted by the Joint PLO-UNESCO Co-ordination Committee, signed in Tunis on 30 April 1994, which lay down the general framework of UNESCO’s action in the Palestinian territories, the priority projects to be carried out, the activities to be undertaken in the short and medium term and co-ordination arrangements between the Palestinian authorities concerned and UNESCO in the fields of education, culture, science and communication,
Having taken note
of the report by the Director-General on this matter (145 EX/9 Rev.),
the transfer by Israel to the Palestinian Authority, as of 1 September 1994, of competence for education and culture, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza, and the exercise of this competence with realism and a lofty sense of responsibility, despite difficulties of all kinds, thereby giving a new dimension to co-operation between that Authority and UNESCO in the shaping and setting up of educational structures and systems, and their strengthening thanks to the co-operation and international experience provided via UNESCO;
particularly the efforts made by the Director-General, in co-operation with the Palestinian Authority, for the implementation of the above-mentioned Memorandum of Co-operation through the immediate sending of high-level consultant missions, the vigorous impetus that he has given to this action by the strengthening of the ‘ministry’ of education and the restoration of schools, especially as competence in this field had only been transferred to the Palestinian Authority on 1 September 1994 and that this represented assistance and support without which the burden of the Palestinian Authority would have been difficult to shoulder;
Expresses its satisfaction
regarding the progress of major projects, including assistance for the establishment of a ‘ministry’ of education and a ‘ministry’ of culture, a curriculum development centre and a teacher-training centre, the formulation of a strategy for the development of higher education and the training of Palestinian executives, the preparation of a cultural policy for executive training, the protection of historic sites, and legislation for the protection of the heritage, and also the establishment of museums and cultural centres;
that UNESCO’s action in favour of the establishment of the ‘ministries’ of education and culture and of scientific and social development for the benefit of the Palestinian people is of major importance and confers on the Organization a key role and responsibility within the United Nations system;
its sincere gratitude and thanks to the Director-General for his effective, constructive and vigorous action in strengthening UNESCO’s action in this connection;
the Member States, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Italy and Norway, the various agencies of the United Nations system, the international financial institutions and regional organizations for their contribution in those fields;
Member States and the international organizations and institutions concerned to make the financial contribution needed to carry out the projects recommended in document 145 EX/9 Rev., taking the opportunity being offered to all to build a modem and democratic education system on solid foundations, such support having necessarily to be provided from the start of the peace process, which it should help to consolidate;
the hope that the peace negotiations between the Arab States and Israel will achieve a just and global solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on a withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 following the principle of land for peace;
the Director-General to increase the funds earmarked for the Palestinians in the Participation Programme and the regular programme during this crucial transition period;
the Director-General to continue, within the fields of competence of UNESCO:
(a) his approaches to the Israeli authorities in order to preserve the human and social make-up of the occupied Syrian Golan in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted in that regard;
(b) to provide the necessary assistance to educational establishments in order to preserve the Syrian Arab cultural identity, and to offer grants to the students of the occupied Syrian Golan;
to include this item on the agenda of its 146th session.
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)
The Executive Board,
that peace is the basis for the democratic values of justice, freedom and the equal dignity of all peoples,
that lasting peace cannot be achieved solely by political and economic solutions but must also be based on justice and the promotion of education, science and culture, which are the true guardians of peace and co-operation,
27 C/Resolution 18 and 145 EX/Decision 5.2,1,
the Director-General’s report on the implementation of the above-mentioned resolution and decision (146 EX/13),
its appreciation and thanks to the Director-General for his efforts to ensure the implementation of the UNESCO resolutions and decisions;
its gratitude to and thanks the Member States that have already contributed or have pledged themselves to contribute financially and technically to the implementation of the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP), in particular Italy and Saudi Arabia;
the Director-General to facilitate the submission to Member States and funding sources of the UNESCO/PAPP projects endorsed by the Joint UNESCO/Palestinian Co-ordinating Committee;
Member States, public and private organizations and individuals to finance the projects of PAPP through voluntary contributions;
the Director-General to provide the rapid assistance required by the schools, including study grants for students in the occupied Syrian Golan;
the Director-General to submit to it at its 147th session, for consideration by the General Conference at its twenty-eighth session, further proposals based on evolving requirements and in the light of the implementation of this decision.