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The General Assembly, in its resolution ES-10/17 adopted on 15 December 2006 at its tenth emergency special session, requested me to report, within six months, on the progress made with regard to the establishment of the United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the establishment and operation of the Office of the Register of Damage.
In compliance with that request, on 10 May 2007, I appointed, in their personal capacity, the following three international experts to the Board of the Register of Damage: Harumi Hori of Japan, Matti Paavo Pellonpää of Finland and Michael F. Raboin of the United States of America. They have an established international reputation and expertise in all legal aspects of the processing and registration of damage claims. While selecting the members of the Board, I was also guided by the need to ensure the independence, objectivity and impartiality of the Register of Damage in compliance with the selection criteria defined in the report of the Secretary-General (A/ES-10/361) submitted pursuant to resolution ES-10/15.
The first meeting of the Board was convened from 14 to 16 May 2007 at the Office of the Register of Damage, immediately following the appointment of its members. The main purpose of the meeting was for representatives of the Secretariat to brief the three members of the Board and to initiate the work on drafting internal guiding documents.
Initial consideration was given to a number of key aspects of the work of the Register of Damage, including the potential procedures that could be employed for the distribution and collection of damage claim forms in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the technical procedures that would be involved in the recording, storage and organization of those damage claims in the Office of the Register of Damage. The Board will hold its next meeting from 9 to 13 July 2007 in Vienna to pursue its efforts to address its most important responsibilities, namely:
(a) To establish the rules and regulations governing the work of the Office of the Register of Damage;
(b) To determine the eligibility criteria for the inclusion in the Register of Damage of losses and damages that have an established causal link to the construction of the wall;
(c) To apply such criteria to the determination of the categories of losses and damages that may be included in the Register of Damage;
(d) To develop the format for the design of claim forms;
(e) To agree on modalities of a public-awareness programme to inform the Palestinian public of the requirements for and logistics involved in the filing of a damage claim for registration.
The Secretariat is currently in the process of completing the recruitment of qualified staff and the establishment of the Office of the Register of Damage at the United Nations Office at Vienna.
The Board of the Register of Damage will make every effort to carry out its functions expeditiously and thoroughly, guided by its mandate. I will continue to report to the General Assembly regularly about the work of the Register of Damage.