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UNRWA - Rapport annuel du Commissaire général
17 October 1994
Supplement No. 13 (A/49/13)
Report of the Commissioner-General
of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
1 July 1993-30 June 1994
Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of such a symbol indicates a reference to a United Nations document.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
15 September 1994
I have the honour to submit to the General Assembly my annual report on the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1994, in compliance with the request contained in paragraph 21 of resolution
of 8 December 1949 and with paragraph 8 of resolution
of 12 December 1958.
Reporting on the historic changes which are now taking place in the region in which UNRWA operates and their impact on UNRWA does not lend itself to the time-frame covered by my annual report. Hence, the real impact of the setting up of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and of related Palestinian administrative structures, as well as the evolving implementation of the accords signed or being arrived at, will be covered in the next annual report.
In the introduction in chapter I, I have referred to activities by the Agency in connection with the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and of the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, both in the context of United Nations social and economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as initiatives undertaken by the Agency itself for Palestine refugees not only in those two Fields but also in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. Projects for the delivery of additional and improved services were planned and execution was begun under the umbrella of the Agency's Peace Implementation Programme, in which income-generation and job-creation and environmental health concerns were given prominence, together with investment for the improvement of infrastructure and services in education, health and social services.
Chapter II contains information on the Agency's three main programmes in education, health, and relief and social services; on the Agency's extraordinary measures for Lebanon and the occupied territory; and on the Peace Implementation Programme introduced by the Agency in October 1993.
Chapter III discusses financial and budgetary issues and refers to the financial shortfall facing the Agency for the second year.
Chapter IV deals with legal affairs, in particular those concerning Agency staff, services and premises. Reference is also made to the new arrangements being worked out between the Agency and the Israeli and Palestinian authorities following the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area signed at Cairo in May 1994.
Chapter V refers to Agency activities and operations in Jordan, chapter VI deals similarly with Lebanon and chapter VII with the Syrian Arab Republic. chapter VIII relates to the occupied West Bank and the Jericho Area, while chapter IX relates to the Gaza Strip.
The annexes provide statistical and financial information on the work of UNRWA, references to pertinent records of the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies, as well as the text of an agreement between UNRWA and the PLO embodied in an exchange of letters dated 24 June 1994.
Following established procedure, the report in draft form was distributed to the 10 members of the Advisory Commission in advance and comments and observations made were given careful consideration. The draft report was discussed with the Commission at a meeting on 15 September 1994. The Commission's views are contained in a letter dated 15 September 1994, addressed to me, from the Chairman of the Advisory Commission. A copy of this letter appears below.
I have maintained the practice of showing my report in draft form to representatives of the Government of Israel and giving due consideration to their comments, in the context of the situation prevailing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1967 and the Agency's operations in those Fields.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
) Ilter TÜRKMEN
President of the General Assembly
LETTER DATED 15 SEPTEMBER 1994 FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
ADVISORY COMMISSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND
WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST
ADDRESSED TO THE COMMISSIONER-GENERAL
At its regular meeting on 15 September 1994, the Advisory Commission of UNRWA considered your draft annual report on the Agency's activities and operations during the period 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1994, which is to be submitted to the General Assembly at its forty-ninth session.
The Advisory Commission expressed great appreciation for UNRWA's programmes of assistance for over 3 million Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, in the remainder of the West Bank, and in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as the new initiatives taken by the Agency in response to recent developments.
Subsequent to the signing on 13 September 1993 of the Declaration of Principles by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Advisory Commission welcomed the Cairo and Paris accords signed between the two parties as well as the early empowerment agreement signed on 29 August 1994 and looks forward to both its early implementation and further progress on the Palestinian track. The Commission welcomed the partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, the arrival of Chairman Arafat and the setting up of the Palestinian Authority and related Palestinian administrative structures. The Commission further welcomed the declaration signed in Washington by Jordan and Israel, and the subsequent progress, as a step towards a comprehensive settlement.
The Commission strongly endorsed these positive steps as part of the comprehensive peace process and expressed the hope that the peace process would strengthen and continue along all tracks. The Commission further hoped that recent developments would have a positive impact on all Palestine refugees, as well as on the Agency's ability to deliver services.
The Commission noted with approval the steps taken by UNRWA to meet the needs created in the aftermath of the signing of the Declaration of Principles, especially in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In this connection the Commission commended the immediate action taken by you to support the peace process in a concrete and visible manner. In particular, the Commission commended the action you have taken to implement short and medium-term projects under the Agency's Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) to benefit refugees and other needy Palestinians not only in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank but also in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. Indeed, it was gratifying for the Commission to note that once donors realized the quick response capacity of the Agency, with its large infrastructure in the area of operations, they made funding available for PIP projects. The Commission wished to express its appreciation for the generosity shown by the donors in responding to the Agency's funding needs for PIP.
However, the Commission noted with great concern that the cash shortfall in the Agency's regular and emergency budget in 1994 was estimated at US$ 43 million. The Agency had ended 1993 with a budget deficit of US$ 10 million despite having imposed austerity measures totalling approximately US$ 17 million, which were continued in 1994. Obviously the impact of these measures would be cumulative and not restricted to one or two years. The Commission also noted the additional demands being placed on the Agency as a result of the new situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including the Jericho area, and appreciated the efforts made by UNRWA to respond to these needs despite its financial constraints.
The financial shortfall facing the Agency made the efforts of the host Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic all the more commendable in providing services to Palestine refugees. The Commission acknowledged with appreciation the support of the host Governments and the Palestine Liberation Organization to UNRWA in the discharge of its duties.
The Advisory Commission noted that at its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly, in resolution
of 10 December 1993, referred to the new context created by the Declaration of Principles, which would have major consequences for the activities of the Agency. In that resolution, the Assembly called upon the Agency, within the framework of strengthened cooperation with the specialized agencies and the World Bank, to make a decisive contribution towards giving a fresh impetus to the economic and social stability of the occupied territories. The Advisory Commission also noted that the functioning of the Agency remained essential throughout its area of operations.
At the same session, the General Assembly adopted, without a vote, decision 48/417, on Palestine participation in the Advisory Commission, under which the Assembly agreed to the understanding that the Advisory Commission would establish a working relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Subsequently, the Commission agreed that as a first step, the Chairman would meet the PLO representative in Vienna after each meeting of the Advisory Commission and otherwise occasionally, if necessary, for an exchange of information and views. This did not exclude the possibility of individual member country contact.
The Commission noted the decision of the Secretary-General that UNRWA headquarters move to Gaza by the end of 1995 and the explanation provided by you on plans for the move. The Commission expressed the wish to continue consultations with you in this regard, recognizing the need to study further all aspects involved in the move, and hoped that no irreversible actions in this regard would be undertaken until such further consultations had taken place. The Commission emphasized that the operational character of UNRWA should be fully maintained and that the cost of the transfer should not be borne by the approved budget of the Agency.
In conclusion, the members of the Advisory Commission wished to express their great appreciation at your continued leadership of the Agency and the decisions you have taken to orient the Agency to the new situation. They also wished to express their satisfaction for all the Agency staff who have continued, often in adverse circumstances, to fulfil their duties with efficiency and a clear sense of duty.
) Husam ABU-GHAZALEH
Chairman of the Advisory Commission
Mr. Ilter Türkmen
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
1. The historic developments that took place during the year under review - 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1994 - had a profound impact on the work and responsibilities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area and the anticipated extension of self-rule to the rest of the West Bank, UNRWA entered a new era in its relationship with the Palestinian people. Thenceforth, in addition to maintaining the services that it had provided for over 40 years, the Agency would soon begin a process of preparing for the eventual hand-over of its installations, services and programmes to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the same time, following a decision of the Secretary-General in late June 1994, UNRWA would focus considerable energy in the coming period on planning for and executing the move of UNRWA headquarters from Vienna to the Gaza Strip by the end of 1995.
2. The period under review was marked, in the early part, by the vision of peace expressed through the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington on 13 September 1993, and, towards the end of the period, by the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, signed at Cairo on 4 May 1994, which was immediately followed by concrete steps towards realizing peace. The parties at the heart of the matter, the Israelis and the Palestinians, agreed on arrangements for limited autonomy for Palestinians for an interim period during which negotiations were to be undertaken on permanent status issues such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security arrangements and settlements. It was the aim of the parties that this transitional period leading to a permanent settlement would not exceed five years. The transitional period began in "Gaza and Jericho first", with those areas becoming self-rule areas under a newly established Palestinian Authority. At the end of the period under review, there was great hope and expectation that the preparatory transfer of powers and responsibilities in the West Bank to the Palestinians, under the arrangement set out in the Declaration of Principles would follow in the coming months.
3. The Cairo Agreement made tangible to the people of the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area promises contained in the Declaration of Principles. The withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian towns, camps and villages in the self-rule areas, the arrival of over 3,500 Palestinian police, the cessation of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians and the impending arrival of the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and head of the Palestinian Authority demonstrated that peace between Palestinians and Israelis was possible not only to imagine but also to achieve. Life was transformed in the Gaza Strip, where for the first time in over two decades it was possible to move about populated areas without encountering Israeli security forces and where after nearly a decade of night curfews it was suddenly possible to enjoy a normal social and family life. Perhaps it was only the Palestinians in Gaza who could appreciate fully the considerable positive psychological dimension to the peace process that accompanied the redeployment of the Israeli security forces, the arrival of a Palestinian police force, the return of the Palestinian leadership to the Gaza Strip and Jericho and the initial steps to set up the Palestinian Authority, and the gradual transformation towards a more normal life, free of daily violence.
4. Immediately prior to the signing of the Declaration of Principles by Israel and the PLO, the Secretary-General had established a task force on economic and social development of the Gaza Strip and Jericho. The task force, of which UNRWA was a member, made a number of recommendations in its report of 23 September 1993, entitled "Supporting the transition: an immediate response of the United Nations to the interim period in the West Bank and Gaza Strip", which was submitted to the Conference to Support Middle East Peace, held in Washington, D.C., on 1 October 1993. The two main recommendations of the report were that ongoing programmes and services should be preserved and enhanced and that new investments should be made in basic physical and social infrastructure which would improve public services and create jobs at the same time. Projects valued at some $138 million were identified for immediate implementation. On 10 December 1993, the General Assembly, in resolution 48/40 A, called upon UNRWA to take on an even greater role in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In that resolution, the Assembly noted that: "the new context created by the Declaration of Principles ... will have major consequences for the activities of the Agency, which is henceforth called upon ... to make a decisive contribution towards giving a fresh impetus to the economic and social stability of the occupied territories ...". The Assembly also requested that "the headquarters of the Agency be transferred as soon as practicable to its area of operations".
5. As developments unfolded in mid-September 1993, UNRWA began to prepare a forward-looking response to support the peace process in the changed environment which would emerge in the self-rule areas. Immediately following the signing of the Declaration of Principles, UNRWA made a preliminary identification of projects that it could undertake to help improve social and economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to improve the physical and social infrastructure which would be turned over to the Palestinian Authority in the future and to create critically needed employment opportunities to help reduce the dangerously high rate of joblessness. At the same time, UNRWA carried out consultations with the PLO leadership in Tunis and with the Agency's major donors to reach a common understanding of the Agency's role during the initial critical period of the transition. On 6 October 1993, at a meeting of its Advisory Commission, the Agency formally launched the Peace Implementation Programme (PIP). From the beginning of the peace process, UNRWA had frequently stated that during the interim period it would strive to meet Palestinian requests for assistance and priorities, to the extent that the international donor community provided financial backing. That policy was embodied in PIP, which was created as the outcome of consultations with the Palestinians and with financial support from donor countries. Public-sector investment by the international community through PIP would contribute to stabilizing socio-economic conditions, especially in the Gaza Strip where the situation was particularly volatile and critical. An evolution in UNRWA's approach to a range of issues in recent years was a central factor which allowed the Agency to respond rapidly to the new situation. That included encouraging a greater degree of self-reliance among refugees, increasing income-generation opportunities to help alleviate poverty, expanding beneficiary participation in developing and implementing programmes, supporting the private sector through the revolving loan fund and training for Palestinian businesses, and initiating an extensive process of comprehensive planning and then construction of environmental infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
6. By 30 June 1994, the Agency had developed $46 million in project proposals for the West Bank and $76 million for the Gaza Strip under PIP. The response of donors was immediate and overwhelmingly positive: by 30 June 1994, UNRWA had received $30 million for the West Bank and $48 million for the Gaza Strip. The Agency was grateful for the trust and confidence placed in it by the donor community and mindful of the responsibility that that entailed. It was especially pleased to receive a generous contribution of $20 million from Saudi Arabia, representing that country's first substantial contribution to Agency projects. Contributions to PIP covered all areas of the Agency's main programmes, enabling it to: construct new schools and upgrade existing ones, including some in the public sector; upgrade existing health clinics and construct and equip additional health centres; carry out feasibility studies and implement projects to improve sewerage systems, solid waste collection and water quality; undertake an extensive shelter rehabilitation scheme for poor refugees living in substandard housing; build new women's programme centres; and expand the revolving loan fund and small-business training programmes for the Palestinian private sector.
7. Employment creation was a central feature of most PIP projects. For example, every $1 million invested in shelter rehabilitation directly created about 55 full-time jobs for one year. UNRWA established over 150 jobs within the Agency to implement projects, and an estimated 750 full-time jobs were created through Palestinian contractors who would carry out the construction programme. By 30 June 1994, implementation had begun on $16.8 million worth of PIP projects. Projects begun prior to PIP, mainly under the expanded programme of assistance (EPA) and implementation of which continued during the period under review, totalled $21 million in the West Bank and $54 million in the Gaza Strip. On 18 October 1993, UNRWA, the European Commission and the Palestine Council of Health held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Gaza General Hospital. Progress was well under way during the year and completion was expected by the end of 1995. Those projects were in addition to the Agency's ongoing activities. For 1994, the Agency's regular and emergency budget was $62 million in the West Bank and $82 million in the Gaza Strip.
8. With the initiation of the peace process, UNRWA had taken steps to strengthen its administrative and managerial structures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Those steps, and others implemented following the introduction of PIP, prepared the Agency to carry out the large volume of projects for which funding was being received. Initiatives in the areas of credit and training for small businesses had already been launched, beginning in 1991, and were firmly and successfully established by the time the Agency sought to expand their coverage under PIP. The work of the Special Environmental Health Programme - established by UNRWA in the Gaza Strip in 1992 - in comprehensive planning for the environmental health sector enabled the Agency to respond immediately with concrete ideas for improvements. Both the Gaza and West Bank field offices were strengthened administratively and technically to ensure the timely implementation of PIP projects. Independent design units with the necessary architectural and engineering capacity were added to the existing technical offices. A separate design unit was also set up as part of the Special Environmental Health Programme. For the shelter-rehabilitation programme, additional social workers were recruited to work with refugees in the special-hardship category to identify shelters needing repair or reconstruction and involve those refugees in the process of carrying out the improvements.
9. As Palestinian mechanisms for coordination with donor and implementing agencies further solidified, UNRWA began to discuss and coordinate projects and programme initiatives with Palestinian interlocutors, ranging from sectoral authorities to officials in the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR). To facilitate that cooperation and ensure effective monitoring and implementation of projects, it was decided to move UNRWA's Projects and Development Office from the Agency's headquarters in Vienna to the West Bank. In the field of education, the Agency and the PLO's Department of General and Higher Education signed a memorandum of understanding on 12 May 1994 to further cooperation and coordination. The memorandum stated that UNRWA and the PLO aimed to develop and improve the educational process at all stages in UNRWA schools and training institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as to cooperate in the reconstruction of the public-sector education system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For its part, UNRWA immediately began consulting its major donors with the aim of securing funds to allow the Agency to undertake projects identified in the memorandum. Two major aspects of those projects were the upgrading of the skills of some 12,000 serving public-sector teachers and the construction of new schools. In June 1994, UNRWA and the PLO exchanged letters through which the PLO requested that UNRWA continue its services in the self-rule areas during the interim period and pledged to apply, in all relations with UNRWA, relevant articles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.
10. As the Palestinian Authority became more established, the matter of harmonizing the Agency's services with those provided by the Palestinian public-sector would take on greater significance. The Agency addressed the issue where there was an opportunity to do so. In the health sector, for example, UNRWA cooperated with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, the Palestine Council of Health and non-governmental health care organizations to identify means for harmonizing their services. In education, the joint PLO-UNRWA project to upgrade the skills of serving public-sector teachers would be a first step towards establishing a common baseline for harmonizing teaching methods and standards in schools run by UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians requested UNRWA to construct new schools to accommodate the children of Palestinian police who were returning to the self-rule areas. It was not clear by the end of the year under review how many children this would entail, but the Palestinian Authority estimated that as many as 25,000 children may return. This would require construction and staffing of some 25 new schools. It was also expected that UNRWA would, in the future, be involved in helping 1967 displaced refugees who would resettle in the self-rule areas in accordance with future agreements pursuant to the Declaration of Principles.
11. The Agency provided urgently needed assistance to the Palestinian Authority and its emerging structures. At the request of the PLO, UNRWA made available a vacant school in Aqabat Jabr camp in the Jericho area to house the new education authority. In the health sector, UNRWA assisted the nascent health authority during the hand-over period from the Israeli Civil Administration by providing medical supplies where shortages had arisen. UNRWA also received contributions under PIP to upgrade equipment at a public sector hospital in the Gaza Strip. As the Palestinian police force was being set up, a number of requests were made to UNRWA for stopgap assistance. The Agency was able to provide basic supplies and access to UNRWA health clinics for the police, as well as vacant premises in Jericho for use as temporary barracks. The Agency's ability to respond rapidly to provide such assistance stemmed from the long history of coordination and cooperation between UNRWA and the Palestinians, as well as the excellent relations that UNRWA maintained with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
12. In late May 1994, concurrent with the implementation of certain provisions of the Cairo Agreement, the Government of Israel proposed the establishment of a tripartite committee, with representatives from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, to arrive at new arrangements relating to UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. The committee held its first meeting on 19 June to discuss future arrangements for the Agency's imports. This initiative of the Government of Israel was one example of the productive and effective relationship between UNRWA and the Israeli authorities. UNRWA appreciated the public statements of support on the work of the Agency made by Israeli officials during the period under review.
13. With international attention focused primarily on developments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA emphasized the centrality to the peace process of Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. The Agency stressed the imperative of ensuring that those refugees were included in regional developments and that adequate attention and resources were dedicated to meeting their needs. Operationally, the Agency accomplished this through its Peace Implementation Programme (PIP). It was gratifying that several donor countries and the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees supported that approach. By the end of June 1994, contributions for PIP projects in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic totalled about $10 million. The "Gavel-holder" of the Working Group was especially active on behalf of residents of Canada Camp, who remained stranded on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border, despite agreement by the parties permitting their return to Gaza. Under an initiative of the "Gavel-holder", a special contribution was received by UNRWA to facilitate the return of remaining families; it would be used to help finance the construction of housing for returning families at Tel el-Sultan near Rafah. At the end of June 1994, heads of families from Canada Camp began returning to start constructing their new houses. The Multilateral Working Group on Refugees also became increasingly active in exploring initiatives to support Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. A group comprising delegates from countries involved in the multilateral process which were also major donors to UNRWA and/or members of its Advisory Commission visited Jordan and Lebanon to meet with Palestine refugee communities and assess possible ways through which the Working Group on Refugees could assist in improving socio-economic conditions of Palestine refugees. At its meeting in May 1994, the Working Group focused extensively on the conditions of refugees outside the occupied territory and recommended certain projects for sponsorship by the Working Group.
14. In May 1994, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories to: facilitate the efforts of the United Nations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, especially those agencies which were now becoming familiar with the situation on the ground; represent the United Nations in the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and related bodies; as and when possible, lead the United Nations delegations to the multilateral working groups of the Middle East peace process; and, as requested by the parties, support the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. The appointment of the Special Coordinator was welcomed by UNRWA, which pledged to cooperate fully with him in his endeavours. In the coming period, the experience and expertise of the United Nations specialized agencies would be greatly needed in the self-rule areas. The anticipated arrival of United Nations agencies not previously operational in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the concomitant need to ensure the complementarity of efforts would underline the importance of the role of the Special Coordinator.
15. Over the year, UNRWA maintained close cooperation with a number of United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) with which joint coordination meetings were held on a monthly basis; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which seconded 10 staff to UNRWA; and the World Health Organization (WHO), which seconded six staff to UNRWA. The Agency also reached agreement with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to assist with a project on behalf of the Palestinian Central National Committee for Rehabilitation. UNRWA and the United Nations Population Fund cooperated on family planning services. A project in support of youth programmes was undertaken jointly by UNDP, UNICEF and UNRWA in the context of the work of the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees. The Agency also worked closely with the World Bank throughout the period, providing information on Agency services and seconding staff to provide input to the World Bank's programme of emergency assistance to the occupied territory.
16. The Secretary-General called an inter-agency meeting on 29 June 1994 to discuss, in connection with the appointment of the Special Coordinator, United Nations activities and modes of operation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the meeting, the Secretary-General announced his decision that UNRWA should transfer its headquarters from Vienna to Gaza by the end of 1995. The Secretary-General stated that: "the crucial and most immediate test of the United Nations system will be its ability to respond in an integrated and coherent way to the situation in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian needs are greatest". He said that UNRWA, with its long history of service, its large budget and massive presence, and the confidence it enjoyed among the local population, had a special role to play. The move would demonstrate the commitment of the United Nations to making peace a success, as well as the confidence of the United Nations in the Palestinian Authority. The Secretary-General confirmed that he viewed the planned move of the operational units from Vienna to UNRWA Headquarters Branch (UHB), Amman, and some other operational moves, as complementary to the transfer of Agency headquarters to Gaza.
17. UNRWA immediately set in place a planning process to carry out the move. The Agency arrived at a preliminary estimate of some $22 million, which would be subject to change as the administrative, communications, logistics, personnel and staffing issues were identified and measures to address them defined. Financial and legal matters related to the move would also have to be studied. The planning process would be built around certain objectives, such as ensuring the continued operational effectiveness of UNRWA's headquarters and its oversight and managerial functions; guaranteeing the integrity of the Agency's links to Palestine refugees and the host Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic following the transfer of UNRWA's headquarters to the Gaza Strip; protecting ongoing and special programmes from disruption during the planning and actual relocation process; and identifying finance mechanisms for the move outside of the voluntary contributions received for Agency programmes. Despite the numerous complex issues involved in carrying out the transfer of a United Nations headquarters in such a fluid situation, it was expected that substantial progress could be reported to the General Assembly at its next session.
18. The transfer of the Agency's headquarters to Gaza would not affect the relocation of a number of Vienna-based operational units to UHB, Amman, which would continue as planned. During the year under review, the Agency began to implement its decision, noted in last year's report, to relocate certain Vienna-based operational units to UHB, Amman. The Education Department was reunited in Amman as of 1 July 1993; many sections of that department had been based in Amman since being relocated from Beirut in 1978. The Audit Office also began functioning from Amman in July 1993. The Department of Health and the Department of Relief and Social Services, as well as the Programme Planning and Evaluation Office and the Motor Transport Office, were scheduled to relocate to UHB as of 1 July 1994; the move of those units was nearly complete by the end of June 1994. Preparations included construction of a new annex at the UHB complex. It was further decided to transfer the Agency's Supply and Transport Division to UHB as of 1 July 1995. The relocation of those units involved about 25 international and 80 area posts. Owing to the presence of suitably qualified persons in Jordan's labour force, the Agency was able to recruit area staff to replace Vienna-based area staff who chose not to move to Amman. With the completion of the planned relocations in mid-1995, UHB would house all of the Agency's operational units; approximately 35 international and 185 area staff would serve at UHB.
19. The presence of the programme departments in Amman, within a day's drive from anywhere in the Agency's area of operations, would strengthen the management of ongoing and new activities and would be especially important at a time when there were increasing demands on Agency services and a broadening of the Agency's role in assisting the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as enhancing development initiatives for Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. Additionally, in light of the Secretary-General's decision to transfer the remaining, mainly policy-making units from Vienna to Gaza, the relocation of the operational units to Amman by mid-1995 would ensure that services could continue uninterrupted at a time of great change in the Agency arising from the move to the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, by strengthening the presence of programme management in Amman, the Agency would reinforce its message to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria that although the focus of international attention was on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, their needs would not be overlooked; in fact, concrete steps were being taken to strengthen and improve Agency services to them.
20. The successful completion of the negotiations culminating in the Cairo Agreement was a testament to the commitment of the parties to reach agreement despite periodic destabilizing shocks to the peace process. In the preface to the 1992/93 report, the Commissioner-General expressed the hope that that report had chronicled a bygone era. Unfortunately, that era would not fade as easily as all had hoped. Between the signing of the Declaration of Principles on 13 September 1993 and the implementation of the Cairo Agreement in May 1994, over 160 Palestinians and 40 Israelis lost their lives. With the implementation of the Cairo Agreement, clashes virtually ceased in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area. In the rest of the West Bank, where the security situation remained essentially unchanged pending extension of autonomy, clashes continued to occur throughout the reporting period.
21. On 25 February 1994, the Palestinian people experienced one of the worst episodes in their recent history when a lone Israeli settler opened fire with a machine-gun in the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron, West Bank, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers and injuring many others. In the hours following the massacre, nine Palestinians were shot and killed in the West Bank and three in the Gaza Strip by Israeli security forces during protests and clashes with security forces. Three of those killed were shot in the compound of Ahli Hospital in Hebron, located outside the centre of town. Clashes took place at the hospital after it was surrounded by Israel Defence Forces troops as hundreds of Hebronites gathered to check on injured relatives or donate blood following the massacre. Despite widespread imposition of curfews and restrictions on movement, violence continued for a number of days. By mid-March, 15 more Palestinians from the West Bank and 11 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been killed in circumstances related to clashes with Israeli security forces.
22. The Security Council met to consider the massacre and its aftermath. On 18 March 1994, the Council adopted resolution 904 (1994) without a vote, calling for "measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians throughout the occupied territory, including,
, a temporary international or foreign presence, which was provided for in the Declaration of Principles ...". On 31 March 1994, Israel and the PLO reached agreement on the establishment of a temporary international presence in Hebron (TIPH), which facilitated the resumption of negotiations leading to the signing of the Cairo Agreement. Despite those measures, the town of Hebron, with 110,000 Palestinian inhabitants, remained tense throughout the rest of the period under review, with clashes erupting between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers and/or settlers. The town centre, where some 15,000 Palestinians and 400 Israeli settlers lived, was under round-the-clock curfew from 25 February until 11 April 1994. During curfews, Israeli settlers were allowed to move freely in Hebron.
23. Following the establishment of TIPH in April 1994, the UNRWA Refugee Affairs Officer (RAO) programme no longer operated in Hebron, with the exception of monitoring conditions at Agency installations. The rapid implementation of the Cairo Agreement in the self-rule areas of the Gaza Strip and Jericho, including mechanisms for addressing violence between Palestinians on the one hand and Israeli settlers and/or soldiers on the other, and the establishment of a Palestinian police force had rendered the RAO programme in those areas unnecessary by late May 1994. The programme would continue to function as usual in the rest of the West Bank until the Palestinians assumed responsibility for law and order there.
24. The RAO programme had been established by the Agency in early 1988 in response to a request from the Secretary-General arising from a report that he had submitted to the Security Council on 21 January 1988, in accordance with Council resolution 605 (1987) of 22 December 1987. That report had addressed,
, the types of protection and means available to the international community to help ensure the protection of the civilian population following the outbreak of the
and Israeli countermeasures. The principal function of the RAO programme was to maintain an international presence at scenes of particular unrest and tension. The RAO teams were often able, by their presence and through liaison with local military authorities, to help lessen tensions and provide for the safety and security of Palestinians; they also helped to ensure the continued functioning of Agency operations, despite clashes and frequent curfews, and assisted in the delivery of emergency medical services to injured persons on the spot and also, as necessary, at health centres and hospitals. The RAO programme was a unique creation of the United Nations, and notwithstanding the constraints and limitations under which it operated, the programme was widely embraced by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who saw in it the only mechanism under the circumstances which provided a certain degree of protection.
25. In the wake of the Hebron massacre and its aftermath, the Israeli authorities tightened existing restrictions on movement, preventing Palestinians holding identification cards from the Gaza Strip and West Bank from entering East Jerusalem and Israel. The resealing of the occupied territory led to increased economic losses for Palestinian workers with jobs in Israel. Palestinian manufacturers and farmers also lost considerable income as the restrictions also affected the movement of goods and services between Israel and the occupied territory and within the occupied territory itself. (The West Bank and Gaza Strip had been sealed on an open-ended basis in late March 1993, as described in last year's report.) The restrictions also reinforced a de facto de-linking of the West Bank from the Gaza Strip and of both areas from Jerusalem. The loss of income suffered by Palestinians as a result of those increased restrictions led UNRWA to respond by distributing food on an emergency basis to 75,000 families in the West Bank and 95,000 families in the Gaza Strip. Food distribution covered needy refugees; food was also provided to needy non-refugees in cooperation with local non-governmental organizations. UNRWA operations were also affected by the restrictions. The greatest impact was on the training centres located at Kalandia and Ramallah in the West Bank, which served students from both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In particular, the restrictions prevented students from the Gaza Strip from reaching training centres located in the West Bank. Female trainees from Gaza were allowed to resume their studies only at the end of April 1994. By the end of June 1994, more than 20 per cent of the male trainees from Gaza had still not been allowed by the Israeli authorities to rejoin their training centres in the West Bank.
26. The Hebron massacre also highlighted the question of settlements, consideration of which would be postponed, by agreement of the parties, until the final status negotiations. During the period under review, housing construction continued in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There were an estimated 4,500 settlers in 16 settlements in the Gaza Strip and 130,000 settlers in 150 settlements in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem. In annexed East Jerusalem, the Jewish population surpassed the Palestinian population for the first time since the occupation began. According to Israeli sources, there were 160,000 Jews compared to 155,000 Muslim and Christian Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. Confiscation of Palestinian land continued throughout the period under review, particularly in the Jerusalem area and in the border region near the Green Line (the demarcation line separating the West Bank from Israel). It was reported in late January 1994 that 46,000 dunums of Palestinian land had been expropriated between 13 September 1993 and the end of the year and that settlements had been expanded on 1,025 dunums, entailing the uprooting of 5,500 fruit trees.
27. In August 1993, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to an arrangement to allow the more than 400 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who had been deported to Lebanon in December 1992 to return. Subsequently, in September 1993, 189 Palestinians returned and in December 1993, 197 returned. Tens of others had been allowed back previously, either because they were deported by mistake or on humanitarian grounds related to their health. About 17 of the deportees reportedly chose not to return. Among the returning deportees were the 16 UNRWA staff members who were among those who had been deported to Lebanon in December 1992. Some of the returnees were placed under administrative detention by the Israeli authorities. Five of the 16 UNRWA staff members were kept in detention upon their return.
28. In Jordan, the Agency's relationship with the Government remained excellent. The support of the Government was pivotal to the success of Agency programmes. The services which the Government itself provided to Palestine refugees in the country - about 40 per cent of the total number of refugees registered with UNRWA and the largest Palestine refugee population anywhere - were critical to the well-being of the refugees and their sense of relative social and economic stability and security. As elsewhere in the area of operations, financial constraints confronting UNRWA prevented it from expanding programmes to keep pace with population growth. That was particularly apparent in education and health, where austerity measures introduced to deal with a financial deficit led to a hiring freeze, imposed in February 1993, which resulted in increasingly crowded classrooms and heavier patient loads for Agency doctors. The Agency recognized that its own financial limitations led to greater demands being placed on public-sector services.
29. The Agency successfully continued its efforts to implement fully its commitment to meet changes called for by Jordan's education reform policy of 1987. A central feature of the new policy was the requirement that teachers in the basic education cycle must possess a four-year university-level degree. In September 1993, UNRWA opened its first Educational Sciences Faculty in Amman, following its accreditation by the Jordan Ministry of Education. The faculty replaced UNRWA's two-year teaching certificate programme for training new teachers with a four-year programme and would also upgrade some 2,300 serving Agency teachers not yet in possession of a university-level degree. UNRWA received $2.86 million under its Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) for projects in Jordan. The total value of other projects under implementation in Jordan at the end of June 1994 was $5.5 million; the 1994 budget for ongoing programmes was $68.7 million.
30. In Lebanon, the ongoing normalization of national life continued to enhance the security and safety of Palestine refugees, although in Israeli-controlled south Lebanon and in the Beqa'a region, violence continued to erupt sporadically. The Government continued its policy of addressing the problem of persons displaced by the years of conflict, including facilitating the return to the lawful owners of property occupied by displaced persons. UNRWA worked closely with the Government to find solutions for displaced Palestinian families who had been served with eviction notices. The Government approved an arrangement whereby UNRWA would receive $5,000 from the Government for each evicted family as a contribution to rehousing that family. UNRWA was able to rehouse about 400 families during the period under review. At the end of June 1994, nearly 4,200 displaced Palestinian families remained in urgent need of rehousing, including some 279 families from Beirut who had been served with eviction notices but for whom the Government had not yet approved any rehousing plans. The fate of displaced families was a matter of growing concern for the Agency as problems associated with the rehousing of displaced refugees became increasingly complex. The urgent need to rehouse displaced Palestinians in Lebanon was recognized by the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees which urged donor countries to support UNRWA's rehousing efforts. The Agency's major donors responded to the problem of the displaced with special contributions which would finance the rehousing of several hundred families. Under PIP, UNRWA received $3.66 million in contributions for projects in Lebanon, mainly for rehousing displaced persons and for shelter rehabilitation. The total value of other projects under implementation in Lebanon at the end of June 1994 was $4.8 million, while the 1994 budget for ongoing programmes was $39.6 million.
31. In the Syrian Arab Republic, historically close contacts with the Government contributed to the continued smooth functioning of UNRWA programmes, the planning of new forms of assistance and the relative social and economic stability in the lives of Palestine refugees. Last year's report highlighted the situation of some 3,300 Palestine refugees in Neirab camp who were living in overcrowded conditions in barracks built in 1950. The Agency placed considerable emphasis on finding ways to rehouse that group of refugees in acceptable conditions. In close coordination with the Government and with a special contribution from one of the Agency's major donors, it appeared by the end of June 1994 that UNRWA would be able to finance at least the first phase of a project whose eventual aim was to replace the barracks with decent housing in the form of multi-storey apartment buildings. Under PIP, $3.1 million was received for projects in the Syrian Arab Republic. UNRWA itself advanced funds to enable essential improvements to be made at the Damascus Training Centre, which had not been upgraded since its establishment in 1961. The total value of other projects under implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic at the end of June 1994 was $1.9 million; the 1994 budget for ongoing programmes was $25.7 million.
32. By 30 June 1994, over 3 million Palestine refugees were registered with UNRWA in its five fields of operation. Palestine refugees were entitled to receive a range of Agency services delivered through its education, health, and relief and social services programmes. Agency-wide, there were 398,805 children enrolled at UNRWA's 641 primary and preparatory schools and over 4,500 in the five vocational training centres. Refugees had guaranteed access to primary health-care through the Agency's 120 health centres or points and mother and child health-care clinics, 71 dental clinics and 32 specialist clinics for paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, cardiology and ophthalmology and for the treatment of ear, nose and throat illnesses and chest diseases, as well as 210 special-care clinics for the treatment of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. By the end of June 1994, family health services, including family planning, were available in all clinics Agency-wide. UNRWA also heavily subsidized hospital care for refugees, the growing cost of which was becoming a cause for concern. In the social services, beneficiaries continued to play a growing role in identifying, implementing and managing community-based initiatives. That was particularly the case at the Agency's 73 women's programme centres, which were attended by 11,313 women and nine of which were managed by women's communities with technical assistance from UNRWA. Community involvement was also a central feature of the 25 UNRWA-sponsored community rehabilitation centres or programmes, which served 3,456 children and adolescents, and of the 25 youth-activity centres. The special hardship programme assisted 177,205 persons, or 5.9 per cent of the refugee population Agency-wide, providing them with basic food rations, cash assistance for children's clothing and blankets on a case-by-case basis, assistance in establishing income-generating projects, shelter rehabilitation, and preferential access to vocational training centres. The Agency employed nearly 20,000 staff to implement its programmes and services to Palestine refugees; about 13,678 worked in education, 3,181 in health and 664 in relief and social services.
33. During the period under review, UNRWA further advanced its activities in the field of social and economic development. Initiatives to support self-reliance were enhanced through the Agency's Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund, poverty-alleviation programme, revolving loan funds and small-business training for the private sector, and new solidarity-group lending programmes in the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Arab Republic. Begun in 1992, the Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund provided financial assistance, training and technical support to women-owned enterprises or support services. An evaluation of the fund carried out by the programme's main donor during the period under review concluded that evaluation was that a number of the activities that had been undertaken on an experimental basis in one area only should be replicated Agency-wide and recommended that additional funding be provided to the programme to allow it to expand in the coming period. The poverty-alleviation programme, which primarily targeted special hardship cases, continued to evolve away from grant-based assistance towards small loans at little or no interest, a development that proved very successful in the Gaza Strip, where 36 mini-loans were issued during the year under review. Also in the Gaza Strip, the Agency established a solidarity-group lending programme to support women micro-vendors. Begun in May 1994, the programme aimed to provide an alternative source of credit for women micro-vendors who were paying interest rates of up to 250 per cent to merchants for commodities or funds to maintain their enterprises. The Agency charged a service fee equivalent to an interest rate of about 10 per cent. In the Syrian Arab Republic, the Agency began a group-guaranteed lending/community banking scheme for special hardship and other impoverished families. Under the scheme, loans were provided to groups of persons to support micro-enterprise development, including expansion of shops or workshops and establishment of small home-based businesses. Both group-lending programmes were well received by beneficiaries and continued a successful pattern of introducing new development initiatives to make available opportunities for refugees to achieve greater self-reliance.
34. It was particularly worrisome that at such a critical political juncture in the region and at a time when the imperative of ensuring stability in the social and economic conditions of Palestine refugees was widely recognized, the Agency's regular programmes were increasingly threatened by structural deficits. Last year's report drew attention to the deficit that the Agency was facing in 1993, to budget cuts imposed by UNRWA to reduce that deficit and to the consequences for UNRWA services if additional financing were not made available. Despite having frozen about $17 million in expenditure through the imposition of austerity measures, the Agency ended 1993 with a deficit of some $10 million, which had to be financed out of its working capital. For 1994, the prognosis was even worse than for 1993, and by 30 June 1994, the outlook remained discouraging. In anticipation of a funding shortfall in 1994, the Agency had carried forward the austerity measures imposed in 1993, despite their direct negative effect on the quality of services. Even so, the Agency was facing a funding shortfall in 1994 of $21 million, which it required simply to meet its financial commitments. With reserves amounting to $22 million, there was considerable concern that in the absence of substantial additional contributions, UNRWA's working capital would be virtually depleted by the end of 1994. The shortfall did not take into account the cost of lifting the 1993 austerity measures or fully meeting the Agency's 1994 regular and emergency budgets, which had built-in modest increases to cover population growth and rising costs. To meet those targets as well, the Agency would have to raise an additional $22 million, bringing the total projected deficit to $43 million, or some 13.1 per cent of UNRWA's 1994 budget for ongoing programmes of $328 million.
35. The structural-deficit problem confronting UNRWA portended an almost certain decline in the living conditions of Palestine refugees and therefore held possible consequences for the peace process as well. Indeed, it was ironic that at a time when substantial contributions were being entrusted to the Agency for helping to improve basic physical and social infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the lack of contributions to its regular budget was threatening to erode the quality and coverage of programmes which had helped sustain Palestine refugees for over 40 years. The establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area and the early-empowerment mechanism included in the Declaration of Principles meant that for the first time since the founding of the Agency, Palestinians would be in charge of those sectors in which UNRWA provided services. One aspect of that development was that UNRWA felt even more acutely its responsibility to maintain the quality of its services and infrastructure in anticipation of the day when these would be handed over to the Palestinians. It seemed counter-productive that the new Palestinian Authority, facing the considerable challenge of reconstructing and reviving public-sector institutions, should also have to be confronted with a slow deterioration in UNRWA services. In Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, UNRWA's budgetary difficulties and the resulting austerity measures were frequently interpreted by the refugees as part of a deliberate decision by the international community. The Agency's financial situation also meant that host countries were forced to shoulder a greater share of the burden of providing services to Palestine refugees at a time when population growth and demand were steadily rising among their own populations.
36. Conscious of the need to direct as much of its limited resources as possible to services rather than to overhead expenditure, UNRWA continued to identify measures to streamline its management and administrative costs. The relocation of Vienna-based headquarters units to Amman, which would cost some $3.9 million to complete, would result in savings in subsequent years, primarily owing to lower area staff salaries in Jordan as compared with Vienna. The proportion of the budget spent on the Vienna headquarters was 11.8 per cent in 1992-1993 and would fall to an estimated 8.6 per cent in 1994-1995. Agency-wide, the portion of the budget to cover both Vienna and Amman-based headquarters activities was 13.5 per cent in 1992-1993. During the year under review, a number of internal evaluations were undertaken with the aim of enhancing programme management and improving the delivery and quality of services. During the year, UNRWA carried out evaluations of,
, management and administration of the Agency's education system in Lebanon, illiteracy among the Palestine refugee population and the effectiveness of UNRWA's efforts to meet literacy needs, audio-visual media in the Agency's school education programme, and the procurement programme, which resulted in changes and improvements in those activities. UNRWA's commitment to increase its procurement in the area of operations was pursued further during the period under review. The proportion of local procurement rose from 49 per cent of the total in 1992 to 63 per cent in 1993, during which time the Agency expended $13 million on items purchased in the areas of operation.
37. However, no amount of streamlining, short of cancelling programmes, could generate enough funds to cover shortfalls in the regular budget anticipated for 1994 and beyond. Growing concern over the impending consequences of the Agency's inability to fully support its regular programmes as a consequence of the structural deficit, combined with the five-year time-frame provided by the Declaration of Principles, prompted the Agency to propose a new financial planning mechanism to its major donors in early June 1994. During the coming five years it could reasonably be expected that the Palestinian Authority in the self-rule areas would gradually begin the process of assuming full responsibility for UNRWA programmes and installations in education, health, and relief and social services. That process of hand-over and transfer would represent perhaps a major challenge in the Agency's history and one that it had long awaited. In Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, the Agency would continue to fulfil its commitments to Palestine refugees and make every effort to enhance living conditions through its Peace Implementation Programme during that time. At the end of the five-year period, UNRWA's role would change, whatever the final outcome of the peace talks.
38. In the Agency's view, establishing a five-year financial planning horizon would enable the Agency, the donors, the host countries and the Palestinians to identify what resources would be required for UNRWA to meet fully its commitments to provide services to Palestine refugees in its area of operations. It would also help to rationalize the balance between support for ongoing programmes and special projects, many of which would themselves create additional recurrent costs - new schools would require additional teachers, new health clinics, additional medical staff, and so forth. Such a planning framework could focus on the goal of contributing to the socio-economic advancement of the refugees by emphasizing initiatives to support greater self-reliance through the expansion of income generation and job opportunities. Such a trend would itself strengthen the basis for peace. The five-year time-frame would also allow all parties to begin to consider the gradual phasing out of UNRWA activities as the peace process neared a solution to the refugee problem. Whatever approach the international community chose to take in the coming years, it was clear that allowing UNRWA's services to Palestine refugees to shrivel from lack of funds would not be in the best interest of the refugees; nor would such a development contribute to the maintenance of stability during such a delicate period.
II. GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS IN AGENCY PROGRAMMES
39. Following the signing of the Declaration of Principles between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, UNRWA intensified its cooperation and coordination activities with the PLO's Department of Education. A coordination committee was set up and a memorandum of understanding was signed on 12 May 1994. The PLO requested the Agency to assist, among other things, in the in-service training of public-sector teaching staff in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the rehabilitation of public-sector schools and in the development of vocational and technical education. Subsequently, UNRWA prepared a project proposal, in consultation with the PLO's Department of Education, to provide in-service training for about 12,000 serving teachers, head teachers and school supervisors from public-sector schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNRWA also began a comprehensive study to develop vocational and technical education. Arrangements were made with UNESCO to undertake a school mapping project, and a preliminary study was conducted by a team from UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning. Through the Peace Implementation Programme, some $24 million was received or pledged to construct 20 schools in the Gaza Strip, nine schools in the West Bank, one school in the Syrian Arab Republic and three schools in Jordan, in addition to the repair and/or upgrading of a number of UNRWA and public-sector schools in Gaza.
40. UNRWA's Educational Sciences Faculty (ESF) was inaugurated in both Jordan and the West Bank in September 1993. The ESF offered a four-year programme at university-degree level for new teachers and would upgrade to a university degree the qualifications of 4,800 serving Agency teachers in possession of a two-year teacher-training certificate. The ESF in Ramallah, serving both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, offered the first university-level programme in the field of education. The establishment of the ESF, and the corresponding dissolution of the two-year certificate programme, would initially result in a decrease in the number of places for the training of new teachers from 645 in 1992/93 to 375 in 1993/94. However, the number of training places for new teachers would rise to 900 in 1996/97 when the faculties would operate at full capacity. The number of education staff benefiting from the in-service training programme organized by the UNRWA Institute of Education decreased from 1,075 to 765, while the ESF in Jordan provided in-service training for 210 teachers. University scholarships for outstanding students Agency-wide rose from 746 to 826. (Details on education are contained in annex II, tables 5, 6 and 7.)
41. The education programme, covering school education, vocational training and teacher education, remained UNRWA's largest single activity, accounting for almost 50 per cent of the Agency's regular budget for 1994. Nearly 12,400 education staff, excluding manual workers and school attendants, were employed Agency-wide. A total of 398,805 elementary and preparatory school pupils attended UNRWA's 641 schools, an increase of 6,048 pupils over the preceding school year as a result of natural growth in the Palestine refugee community. Vocational training, comprising two-year post-preparatory trade courses and two-year post-secondary technical courses, increased from 4,496 to 4,536 training places following the introduction of new courses. The Agency introduced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan in cooperation with the Young Men's Christian Association, short-term vocational training courses of 20 and 40 weeks' duration aimed at preparing students in areas where there was high demand in local labour markets. The education programme followed the curricula of the host Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and of Jordan and Egypt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNRWA's education programme operated with the technical cooperation of UNESCO, which supplied 10 international staff on secondment to the Agency.
42. The academic achievement of UNRWA pupils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip remained a major concern as schools continued to suffer from general strikes, military-ordered closures and curfews. Education services, which had been disrupted by the closure of the occupied territory in March 1993, suffered further from the increased restrictions on movement imposed by the Israeli authorities following the massacre at the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron, on 25 February 1994, and its aftermath. Those restrictions hampered access by students and teachers alike to certain schools, particularly in the Jerusalem area. A number of students from the Gaza Strip who were enrolled at training institutions in the West Bank, including the Jerusalem area, lost two or more months of training before being issued permits allowing them to leave Gaza and remain in the West Bank. To help compensate for lost time and improve the level of academic achievement, UNRWA continued to develop self-learning materials, educational kits and worksheets. Self-learning materials were also distributed to schools for use as remedial work to help students overcome accumulated academic weakness. In addition, during the period under review, remedial classes for slow learners and pupils with learning difficulties were established in all five areas of operation.
43. Soon after the peace process began in 1991, UNRWA realized that a major challenge facing a future Palestinian health authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be to create a coherent, unified and affordable programme of health care, drawing together radically different services in type and quality provided at the time by the Civil Administration, UNRWA, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. In order to contribute to the quality of health infrastructure, the Agency intensified its commitment to: maintain, upgrade and expand its primary health care facilities; construct and equip a 232-bed general hospital in Gaza; establish a college of nursing to operate in conjunction with the hospital; and establish a special programme for comprehensive planning and project implementation for sustainable development in the environmental health sector in the Gaza Strip. Concurrently, the Agency engaged in efforts to facilitate a process of harmonization of its services with other health-care providers, assist in the coordination of practical aspects of health policy and enhance technical cooperation with the emerging Palestinian health structures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the Palestine Council of Health, the Palestine Environmental Protection Authority, the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, local municipalities and, as of June 1994, the health programme of the Palestinian Authority.
44. UNRWA's health care services continued to include both preventive and curative medical care, supplementary nutritional assistance to pregnant and nursing women and to children under the age of three, and environmental health services. Medical care at the primary level was complemented by secondary services, such as hospitalization and other referral and support services. More than 3,200 professional and support staff, the majority of whom were locally recruited Palestinians, provided those services through a network of 120 health centres or points and mother and child health clinics, 71 dental clinics, 78 laboratories and 32 specialist clinics for paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, cardiology and ophthalmology and for the treatment of chest diseases and ear, nose and throat illnesses, as well as 210 special-care clinics for the treatment of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. UNRWA's health programme maintained cooperation with WHO, which seconded six staff to the Agency. UNRWA health services employed WHO technical standards and followed WHO technical guidelines.
45. Consistent with major developments in the health status of the refugee population and in response to the emerging needs of the refugee community, UNRWA placed greater emphasis on introducing or expanding existing special programmes within its overall primary health care strategy, including expanded maternal health and family planning services, mental health, control of non-communicable diseases and management of iron-deficiency anaemia. In particular, a special effort was made to develop and implement an expanded family health programme comprising antenatal, natal and postnatal care, child health and family planning services. A new division of family health was established and the functions of existing divisions within the Health Department were revised. More than 72,000 pregnant women, representing approximately 70 per cent of all expected pregnancies among the Palestine refugee population, received comprehensive maternal care; approximately 214,000 children under three years of age received regular growth monitoring, immunization and supervision; and more than 30,000 women of reproductive age received family planning services, comprising counselling, provision of contraceptive supplies and follow-up. Programmes for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and cancer were reinforced and expanded as special activities integrated within the Agency's primary health care programme. The community mental health programme which was established in the West Bank in 1991 was maintained, and modest programmes were introduced in the Agency's other areas of operation beginning in March 1994. The mental health services placed special emphasis on staff training, management of post-traumatic stress disorders among children and coordination of mental health activities with programmes of the public sector and of non-governmental organizations.
Relief and social services
46. The number of Palestine refugees registered with the Agency increased by 7.1 per cent, from 2.8 million on 30 June 1993 to 3 million on 30 June 1994. The increase in the estimated population growth was partly explained by the concern of the refugees to ensure that their records with UNRWA were fully up to date. By the end of June 1994, 82 per cent of registered refugees had collected the redesigned registration card, which listed all family members, and many had requested modifications to account for previously unrecorded births, deaths and marriages. To improve efficiency in registration, the Agency launched a project for a unified registration system, which would provide a more detailed socio-economic profile of refugees in the special hardship category. In its first phase, a pilot project to computerize registration was successfully concluded in the Syrian Arab Republic at the end of 1993. The system was then extended to Jordan in early 1994 and was expected to be in place Agency-wide by the end of 1994.
47. The relief and social services programme continued to provide direct relief to those refugees unable to meet their own life-sustaining needs. In the period under review, the number of persons enrolled in the special hardship programme declined slightly, from 180,647 to 177,205, or from 6.5 per cent of registered refugees to 5.9 per cent. Following an internal evaluation, and assisted by the observations of a consultant, procedures relating to eligibility were streamlined. It was decided that, from 1 January 1994, the distribution of blankets and clothing to all special hardship families would be replaced with cash grants to meet the emergency needs of selected families. Self-support projects for special hardship families to establish micro-enterprises were increasingly loan-based, with little or no interest, rather than grant-based, as in the past. Surveys conducted in late 1993 in Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza Strip revealed that the Agency's previous estimate that one fourth of special hardship families were living in substandard housing was well below the actual: in Lebanon, over one third of refugee shelters were found to be in need of rehabilitation, and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, over 40 per cent. Agency-wide, some 19,000 shelters of special hardship families required improvement. Fortunately, the shelter rehabilitation programme received a major funding boost during the reporting period: under its Peace Implementation Programme, UNRWA received funds to repair or reconstruct 5,400 shelters. Over the year, 1,684 shelters Agency-wide were repaired or reconstructed. The programme emphasized the participation of the refugee families and often engaged contractors and labourers from the refugee camps where shelters were to be upgraded. In Lebanon, the priority concern was for over 4,000 refugee families who had been displaced during the years of conflict and who, during the period under review, were in urgent need of alternative housing. Solutions were found for some of those families towards the end of 1993, and talks with the competent authorities were ongoing to find a solution to rehouse all displaced families.
48. The promotion of self-reliance was increasingly emphasized in the relief and social service programmes, which also stepped up support for longer-term socio-economic development though initiatives to achieve self-sustaining, independent community organizations. One example was a successful pilot project in group-guaranteed lending in the Syrian Arab Republic in 1993, which encouraged similar initiatives in other areas of operation in 1994. A joint review of the Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund by UNRWA and the donor concluded that the Fund should continue with a substantially larger investment in the coming financial period, with several of the projects replicated Agency-wide. In the women's programme centres, the focus was on developing the capacity of elected women's committees to manage the programmes themselves, with technical support and a financial subsidy from the Agency. By the end of June 1994, nine of the 73 centres were community-managed. In the disability programme, coordination between community rehabilitation committees and local disability services and participation of committees in larger disability networks were also fostered, with particular success in Jordan and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To help contribute towards their financial sustainability, a number of committees successfully established small enterprises, most of which also provided employment for disabled persons. Community-managed youth activity centres in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, supported technically and financially by UNRWA, were reactivated and the committees linked through the Youth Activities Federation. In addition to the established core activities in all programmes for women, persons with disabilities, and youth, more attention was paid to leadership training and civic education, including, in the women's centres, legal literacy courses which covered civic matters as well as civil and religious law. The priority for the coming years would be the integration of those programmes into the Palestinian Authority's social service policy and provision, and harmonization with public sector endeavours in the other three areas of operation.
Extraordinary measures for Lebanon and the
49. The fund for extraordinary measures for Lebanon and the occupied territory (EMLOT) was established in 1990 through the amalgamation of the Lebanon Emergency Fund, established in 1982, and a similar fund for the occupied territory, established shortly after the beginning of the
. EMLOT's purpose was to address urgent needs arising out of emergency conditions prevailing in Lebanon and the occupied territory. Activities funded under EMLOT were sharply curtailed during both 1993 and 1994 because of financial shortfalls.
50. In the health field, the Agency maintained its emergency medical care programme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including emergency afternoon clinics in both and night clinics in the Gaza Strip. During the year under review, the programme was reorganized in the West Bank in a manner that allowed greater flexibility in responding to emergency situations through the use of mobile teams rather than deploying staff at fixed centres. This arrangement proved to be more effective in emergency situations such as the massacre in the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron and its aftermath. In the Gaza Strip, the need to maintain night clinics diminished as
-related incidents declined and, accordingly, those clinics were closed in May 1994.
51. As a result of prolonged curfews and closures of the West Bank and Gaza Strip imposed by the Israeli authorities, the Agency made four general food distributions to some 95,000 families in the Gaza Strip and three distributions to about 75,000 families in the West Bank during the period under review. In Lebanon, emergency food distributions were carried out for some 2,000 families in the south in July 1993 and to 1,800 families in the Beqa'a region in December 1993. In addition, about 170 families in Lebanon received monthly food parcels under EMLOT. The Agency also issued about $1.1 million in cash assistance to over 2,500 families directly affected by emergency conditions in Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for the reconstruction of demolished shelters or to meet basic requirements.
52. The Refugee Affairs Officer programme, funded under EMLOT, was discontinued in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area following the implementation of the Cairo Agreement of 4 May 1994. The programme continued to operate normally in the rest of the West Bank, with the exception of Hebron where, following the establishment of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron in April 1994, its operation was limited to Agency installations.
Peace Implementation Programme
53. The Agency introduced its Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) on 6 October 1993, shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Principles and following consultations with the Palestinian leadership and UNRWA's major donors and host Governments. PIP projects for the West Bank and Gaza Strip were developed to achieve the goals set forth by the Secretary-General's task force in its report entitled "Supporting the transition: an immediate response of the United Nations to the interim period in the West Bank and Gaza Strip". Because UNRWA repeatedly emphasized the importance of including Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic in the benefits of peace, PIP was extended to those areas of operation as well.
54. Under PIP, the Agency aimed to improve basic physical and social services infrastructure, particularly in those sectors where UNRWA was already playing a significant role, such as education, health and environmental sanitation, relief and social services, and income-generation activities. UNRWA took care to ensure that projects under PIP would create employment opportunities for Palestinians. With only a few months of project implementation under way, it was estimated that in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over 600 new jobs had already been created.
55. By 30 June 1994, nearly $187 million in proposals had been prepared under PIP for projects Agency-wide. Approximately $122 million in projects had been identified for the West Bank ($46 million) and Gaza Strip ($76 million). The remainder, $65 million, was for projects in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. Donors had committed $30 million towards projects in the West Bank, $48 million for projects in the Gaza Strip, and over $10 million for projects in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.
56. Donor-funded projects under PIP were in addition to the Agency's ongoing projects under the expanded programme of assistance (EPA) and capital and special projects (CSP). At the end of June 1994, a total of $84 million in projects was still being implemented under EPA and CSP, including the Gaza General Hospital project and environmental health projects. As EPA projects were completed in the coming years, EPA would be phased out in favour of PIP.
57. UNRWA's income-generation programme had been expanded in mid-1991 under EPA to incorporate revolving loan funds to support the establishment or expansion of small to medium-scale Palestinian enterprises and to help create employment opportunities. Begun in the Gaza Strip, the programme also covered the other fields. Examples of enterprises assisted by UNRWA could be found in many sectors of the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ranging from metal, carpentry and painting workshops and textile manufacturing and photographic laboratories to an agricultural equipment plant.
58. The expansion of UNRWA's support to the private sector, both through its revolving loan fund programme and its small-business training programme, was an important component of PIP. The Agency successfully sought additional funds to expand the programme to allow larger businesses to apply for loans and to strengthen training in financial management and other skills needed by small businesses. At the end of June 1994, there were 143 enterprises in the Gaza Strip supported by $3.34 million in loans; 74 in the West Bank supported by $1.38 million; 66 in Jordan supported by $404,000; and 46 enterprises in Lebanon, supported by $279,000.
III. FINANCIAL MATTERS
59. During the period under review, UNRWA received contributions and incurred expenditure under the following main headings:
(a) Regular programme;
(b) Extraordinary measures for Lebanon and the occupied territory (EMLOT);
(c) Expanded programme of assistance (EPA);
(d) Peace Implementation Programme (PIP), which will eventually replace EPA;
(e) Gaza General Hospital project.
60. The regular programme was budgeted and accounted for under the following sections:
(a) General Fund;
(b) Funded ongoing activities;
(c) Capital and special projects.
61. The budgets under the General Fund and funded ongoing activities covered all recurrent costs incurred in the implementation of the Agency's regular programmes - that is, its education, health, and relief and social services programmes, as well as those services required to support programmes such as the technical and supply and transport functions, information services, administration and management. EMLOT was established in 1990 to address emergency needs in Lebanon and the occupied territory.
62. Funded ongoing activities, which formed an integral part of the Agency's regular programme, were originally part of the General Fund. However, in response to the interest of certain donors, specific Agency activities were subsequently funded separately by donors who undertook to meet all costs of those activities. If the separate funding were to cease, those costs would have to be borne by the General Fund.
63. Capital projects represented investments required to expand and improve the Agency's capital facilities, such as schools, health clinics and various relief and social services centres. For those projects, special contributions were sought from donors, in addition to their regular contributions to UNRWA. Special projects were funded from contributions received specifically for earmarked activities. Those were generally of an ongoing nature and in that respect they resembled the Agency's funded ongoing activities. However, unlike the latter, which formed part of UNRWA's regular programme, special projects were by definition not a part of core activities. Thus, if special contributions for such projects were discontinued, those costs would not automatically be covered by the General Fund and the project would have to be discontinued.
64. The expanded programme of assistance (EPA) was established in 1988. Unlike EMLOT, it was basically non-recurrent in nature. Its purpose was to help improve living conditions and the much deteriorated infrastructure in the Agency's area of operations, with special emphasis on the occupied territory. With the establishment of the Peace Implementation Programme in October 1993, it was decided to phase out EPA.
65. The Gaza General Hospital project was launched in 1990 to address the serious shortage of hospital beds in the Gaza Strip. Construction of the hospital was well under way by the end of June 1994. While funding for the construction phase had been secured from the European Union, efforts were continued to raise funds to fully equip and operate the hospital once it became operational.
Biennial budget for 1994-1995 and biennial
expenditure for 1992-1993
66. The Agency's budget was prepared on a biennial basis. The entire biennial budget was sent to UNRWA's Advisory Commission, while the administrative and support cost aspects of the budget were submitted to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which made its views on this portion of the budget available to the Advisory Commission. Following consultations with the Advisory Commission, the Commissioner-General submitted the biennial budget to the General Assembly, which approved it in December 1993.
Income and sources of funding
67. Nearly 97 per cent of UNRWA's programmes and activities were funded by voluntary contributions. The great majority of those contributions were received in cash; UNRWA's food requirements were covered by donations in kind. About 3 per cent of UNRWA's regular budget was financed by the United Nations to cover the core of international staff costs.
Current financial situation
68. In response to deficit projections of $28.5 million for 1993, UNRWA introduced in February 1993 a series of austerity measures which froze budgeted expenditure by about $17 million for the General Fund and EMLOT. By the end of 1993, those measures, plus limited additional contributions, reduced the deficit to a certain extent. Nevertheless, there was an overall adjusted excess of expenditure over income for the 1992-1993 biennium of $17 million, of which $7 million was recorded against 1992 and $10 million against 1993. That figure was reflected in the income and expenditure statements of the Agency's final accounts for the 1992-1993 biennium.
69. The "official reported" deficit for 1992-1993 income versus expenditure as per the accounts, in US$ millions, was:
70. However, $38.4 million relating to 1993 contributions was received in 1994. Taking that into account, the adjusted "real" 1992-1993 deficit was:
71. It should be noted that the EMLOT deficit had to be funded from the General Fund when sufficient EMLOT contributions were not received. The same applied to funded ongoing activities. Thus, capital and other related balance sheet reserves and fund balances for EMLOT and funded ongoing activities was about $22.6 million at 31 December 1993, or a decrease of $17 million since December 1992.
72. For 1994 the Agency projected a total deficit of some $43 million for the General Fund, funded ongoing activities and EMLOT. Of that figure, the Agency required $21 million to meet minimum required expenditures, such as the monthly payroll, and to avoid draining its working capital. An additional $22 million was required to restore the 1993 austerity measures and allow for the normal budgeted growth in expenditure needed to accommodate population growth and rising costs. Contributions to PIP, while substantial, could not have more than a marginal impact on the projected deficit since PIP comprised mainly projects of a non-recurrent nature while the deficit was in the Agency's ongoing activities.
IV. LEGAL MATTERS
73. There was a significant reduction, compared with the preceding year, in the number of staff members in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who were arrested, held in detention without trial and subsequently released; however, eight staff members in the West Bank remained in detention at the end of June 1994, compared with only three at the end of the preceding year, although in the Gaza Strip this number dropped from 23 to 10. In the Syrian Arab Republic, three staff members were arrested and detained; in Jordan, one; and in Lebanon, one. A total of 51 staff members were detained throughout the area of operations during the period under review; of these, 28 were arrested and released without charge or trial, five were charged, tried and sentenced, and 18 remained in detention at the end of the period (see annex II, table 10). Of the 16 staff members reported in last year's report as having been deported to Lebanon, all had returned with the permission of the Israeli authorities by December 1993. Five were thereupon placed in detention; all were later released. Subsequent to the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed at Cairo on 4 May 1994, a number of Palestinians, including four staff members, were transferred from prisons in the Gaza Strip to detention centres and prisons in Israel.
74. Although the Agency made frequent approaches to the relevant authorities in all areas of operation during the period under review, it was not provided with adequate and timely information as to the reasons for the arrest and detention of its staff members. In the absence of such information, the Agency was not in a position to determine whether the official duties of the staff members were factors in their arrest and detention. Accordingly, the Agency was unable to ensure that their rights and duties under the Charter of the United Nations, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the relevant Staff Regulations and Rules of UNRWA were duly respected.
75. The Agency had access to three staff members from the West Bank and 20 from the Gaza Strip detained in prisons and detention centres in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The treatment of staff members in detention continued to be a matter of considerable concern to the Agency, with staff members both in detention and upon their release complaining of having been subjected to various forms of physical and psychological mistreatment. Despite continued approaches by the Agency to the relevant Governments, the Agency was unable to visit staff detained in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.
76. During the period under review, two staff members were killed in Lebanon, both by persons whose identity remained unknown: on 21 July 1993, an UNRWA teacher was shot dead in the presence of his family near Saida, and on 15 November 1993, an UNRWA head teacher was shot dead as he was leaving his school near Saida. Two staff members were killed in the Gaza Strip during the same period: on 21 October 1993, an UNRWA teacher was shot dead in Gaza town by persons unknown, and on 28 March 1994, a staff member was shot and killed in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip by Israeli security forces in the context of a military operation.
77. In the course of performing their duties, both international and locally recruited staff members continued to be subjected by members of the Israeli security forces to various forms of mistreatment, including injury by live and other forms of ammunition, beatings and threatening and abusive behaviour. During the period under review, some 67 such cases of mistreatment were recorded in the West Bank and 37 in the Gaza Strip. On 31 March 1994, for example, a staff member who was driving on official duty in an UNRWA vehicle in Ramallah town was stopped by Israeli Border Police personnel, one of whom threw a tear-gas grenade into the vehicle where it exploded, leaving the staff member unconscious; the police then left the scene, and local residents took the staff member to hospital, where he received treatment. In another case, on 15 January 1994 an international refugee affairs officer, seated in a clearly marked UNRWA vehicle, was injured by live ammunition, which on all available information was fired by a member of the Israeli security forces in the Sheikh Radwan area of Gaza town; at the time there were no disturbances taking place in the vicinity of the incident. These and other incidents of the mistreatment of staff members were protested to the Israeli authorities and appropriate follow-up action was undertaken by the Agency. On 12 April 1994, Israeli security forces ordered a senior UNRWA local staff member and his family from their newly built home in Ramallah in the West Bank and proceeded to demolish it with rockets and a bulldozer. The stated reason for that action was the suspicion that the house contained wanted persons; no persons were found in the house after the operation. Both the office of the Secretary-General and UNRWA protested the incident to the Israeli authorities, who subsequently expressed their regret and stated that full compensation would be offered to the staff member. Following the entry into effect of the provisions of the Cairo Agreement, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of such cases of mistreatment recorded by the Agency.
78. Difficulties continued in relation to the movement of staff members into and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As reported in previous years, there were lengthy delays by the Israeli authorities in the clearance of official travel for locally recruited staff. The particular restrictions on movement from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israel and East Jerusalem, as described in last year's report, continued during the period under review, with the Israeli authorities insisting on the establishment of a system of exit permits, which delayed and in some cases prevented staff members from entering East Jerusalem and Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Tighter restrictions were imposed with the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip following the massacre at the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron on 25 February 1994, which aggravated the situation in this particular respect. Difficulties were experienced by the Agency in the Gaza Strip in securing exit permits for its drivers, although by the end of June 1994 this had ceased to be a particular problem. The Agency faced continuing problems in its attempts to obtain permits for students from Gaza enrolled at training centres in the West Bank. In relation to movement within the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the imposition of curfews constituted a further impediment to the movement of staff, with the Israeli authorities continuing to insist that locally recruited staff members could operate only if in possession of curfew permits; in the Gaza Strip, procedures to obtain and renew curfew permits were subjected to lengthy delays by the Israeli authorities, although following the entry into effect of the provisions of the Cairo Agreement of 4 May 1994, curfew passes no longer needed to be obtained from the Israeli authorities. The arbitrary declaration of closed military areas by the Israeli authorities continued to constitute difficulties to the official movement of both international and locally recruited staff members.
Agency services and premises
79. For the greater part of the year under review, the Agency continued to provide essential services to the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the context of ongoing violence which had characterized the atmosphere since the beginning of the
and Israeli countermeasures. Only following the entry into force of the provisions of the Cairo Agreement, and the practical effects of the withdrawal of Israeli security forces from large areas of the Gaza Strip and from the Jericho area, was there a great decline in the number of casualties recorded in those areas by the Agency. During the period as a whole, the Agency recorded a total of 106 persons killed and 688, including a substantial number of women and children, injured in clashes with the Israeli security forces (see annex II, table 11).
80. The Agency continued its efforts to provide for the safety and security of the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to safeguard their legal and human rights by providing a degree of protection and a level of humanitarian assistance in a variety of situations, in particular by means of the Agency's refugee affairs officers and legal officers. In situations of potential or actual violence, at times in incidents involving Israeli settlers, the refugee affairs officers continued, in approaches to members of the Israeli security forces, to assist in defusing tensions and hence in lessening casualties, and to assist in the evacuation of wounded persons and otherwise facilitate the delivery of medical services. Their intervention with the local military authorities also assisted in solving a range of day-to-day problems associated with military occupation experienced by the Palestinians. They continued to facilitate the functioning of Agency operations and endeavoured to ensure, to the extent possible, that the Agency's privileges and immunities were respected. With the redeployment of Israeli security forces away from large areas of the Gaza Strip and from the Jericho area, and the consequent decline in violent incidents involving the Israeli security forces and Palestinians, the passive protection function provided by the refugee affairs officers in those areas, was discontinued by the Agency. As reported in previous years, UNRWA continued to provide legal advice and a measure of financial assistance to needy refugees seeking legal redress.
81. During the period under review, there were 63 incursions into Agency installations by members of the Israeli security forces in the West Bank and 113 such incursions in the Gaza Strip. At times, those incursions resulted in threats against and injury to Agency staff and damage to Agency property. The Agency recorded 36 incidents in which the Agency's clinic and hospital premises were entered. Further, on occasion Israeli security forces used Agency premises in the course of military operations. The Agency protested such incursions as an abuse of its privileges and immunities. On those occasions when replies were received from the Israeli authorities, their explanations invoked considerations of military security. With the withdrawal of Israeli security forces from large areas of the Gaza Strip and from the Jericho area, two long-standing incursions into UNRWA premises by the Israeli security forces, mentioned in the reports of previous years, were ended. Those incursions were the presence of a military observation post on the roof of an Agency school in Aqabat Jabr camp in the West Bank, which had been virtually continuous since November 1989, and the fencing-off by the Israeli military authorities of the UNRWA women's programme centre in Jabalia camp in the Gaza Strip since May 1990.
82. During the period under review, cases of interference with UNRWA ambulance and medical services, incidents of which had been reported in recent years, continued to be of particular concern to the Agency. In the Gaza Strip, 28 incidents were recorded, in the course of which ambulances were stopped and searched; ambulance drivers and accompanying medical personnel were at times beaten and had their identity documents confiscated. On 16 October 1993, for example, Israeli security forces stopped an UNRWA ambulance at Moraj junction in the Gaza Strip and ordered the driver and a nurse to get out; they proceeded to enter the ambulance, where they removed an intravenous drip from a badly injured man and questioned him for 20 minutes before a military doctor arrived and replaced the infusion.
83. Incidents of the demolition of houses and camp shelters for punitive reasons continued in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, though such incidents were much reduced from preceding years. In the West Bank, Israeli authorities sealed four shelters within refugee camps; outside refugee camps, some 35 dwellings were destroyed and a further five sealed. In the Gaza Strip, 14 shelters were demolished and two sealed, affecting 28 refugee families; outside of camps, a further 18 dwellings were demolished and one sealed. In addition, 119 shelters in camps in the Gaza Strip were destroyed or damaged by military operations, involving the firing of rockets and the use of explosive charges, in the course of search operations for wanted persons; such operations affected 107 families. Outside of camps, a further nine dwellings were affected by such operations. The Agency protested those actions as being contrary to articles 33 and 53 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. In addition, at least 28 homes in the West Bank and 8 in the Gaza Strip were demolished by the Israeli authorities on the grounds that proper building permits had not been obtained by the owners or occupiers.
84. In a note verbale to UNRWA dated 31 May 1994, the Government of Israel stated that, in view of the terms of the Cairo Agreement, it was no longer in a position to provide free-of-charge warehousing, labour for offloading and handling, and transport for UNRWA supplies destined for the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, facilities which the Government had been providing under the terms of the Comay-Michelmore agreement of 1967. It proposed that tripartite discussions be undertaken between the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA for the purpose of coordinating new arrangements relating to UNRWA's activities. In discussions held consequent to this proposal, it was agreed that the Government of Israel would no longer bear the costs of providing those facilities for supplies destined for the Gaza Strip, but would continue to do so for supplies destined for the West Bank. Thereafter, by an exchange of letters between the Commissioner-General of UNRWA and the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization dated 24 June 1994, UNRWA and the PLO agreed on the facilities to be accorded to UNRWA, as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations, to enable it to continue its assistance effectively to the population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to the extent the Palestinian Authority assumed powers and responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in the remainder of the West Bank (see annex I).
85. With regard to the Gaza Strip, by the end of June 1994, the Israeli authorities had reimbursed the Agency for payments made against value-added tax only on purchases made to the end of 1992. The Agency was continuing its efforts to obtain reimbursement from the Israeli authorities for payments made after that time.
Claims against Governments
86. The Agency regretted that no progress was made with regard to its various claims against Governments.
87. The 201 UNRWA schools in Jordan operated normally throughout the period under review, providing basic education at the elementary (six years of schooling) and preparatory (four years) levels to 151,607 pupils, a decrease of 743 pupils compared to the preceding year. The decrease in the school population could be attributed to the 1993 austerity measures which imposed strict limits on the recruitment of additional teachers needed to meet natural growth among the student population. Some parents, concerned by the overcrowded conditions which were developing in many schools, transferred their children to public-sector schools. About 25 per cent of schools were still accommodated in unsatisfactory rented premises lacking proper facilities conducive to learning, such as adequate space, laboratories, libraries and playgrounds, while over 90 per cent operated on double shift, thus effectively depriving the pupils of extracurricular activities. During the period under review, the Agency constructed four new schools to replace dilapidated prefabricated premises, 13 classrooms to avoid triple shifting and one specialized room. Seven other schools were under construction at the end of June 1994. With the completion of those schools, all prefabricated schools would have been replaced by Agency standard schools, providing a better learning atmosphere. To meet the needs of pupils with learning difficulties and slow learners, the Agency extended the special education programme to more schools in the Amman, North Amman, Irbid and South Zarqa areas. In addition, some 500 disabled children and children with learning difficulties were integrated into the regular school education system.
88. One of the major developments in the Agency's education programme in Jordan was the opening at the Amman Training Centre of the four-year Educational Sciences Faculty (ESF), offering a first-level university degree. The faculty provided pre-service teacher training to 75 students in the first year and in-service training places for 210 teachers to upgrade their qualifications to the university-degree level. Over a four-year period, the capacity of the faculty would gradually increase to 300 students in the pre-service teacher-training programme. Some 2,240 serving Agency teachers who did not have a four-year degree would upgrade their qualifications at the ESF over the next 12-13 years. The faculty obtained general accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education. UNRWA continued to offer in-service training to teachers, head teachers, supervisors and instructors to upgrade their qualifications, meet curricular changes, update teaching methodologies and enhance skills in education administration. A total of 232 education staff members enrolled in those courses, in addition to the 179 teachers who were actually enrolled at the ESF.
89. The Amman and Wadi Seer training centres operated normally throughout the period under review, with training places for 1,208 students in trades and semi-professional training courses. The Amman Training Centre offered men and women trainees post-secondary, semi-professional training courses which prepared them to become assistant pharmacists, assistant laboratory technicians and business administrators. Courses were also offered in banking and financial management, medical records keeping and secretarial skills. A hairdressing course was offered to women trainees at the post-preparatory level. At the Wadi Seer Training Centre, studies were offered in the mechanical, electrical and building trades, as well as semi-professional courses covering architectural and civil engineering, land surveying and mechanical draughting. A new course in industrial electronics was introduced in September 1993. Students at the two centres achieved excellent results in the comprehensive examinations for community colleges given annually by the Ministry of Higher Education. In the comprehensive examination held in mid-1993, trainees from the Wadi Seer Training Centre achieved a pass rate of 92.6 per cent, compared to a national average of 50 per cent, while those from the Amman Training Centre achieved 94 per cent, compared to a national average of 56 per cent in the specializations offered at the centre.
90. The Agency awarded university scholarships to 216 Palestine refugee students who excelled in their
(secondary school) examinations; of these students, about 40 per cent were women. The courses followed by these students at universities in Jordan covered a wide range of specializations, including arts, dentistry, education, engineering, medicine and sciences.
91. UNRWA provided health services to over 1 million refugees in Jordan through a network of 22 health centres and mother and child health clinics, 16 dental clinics, 20 laboratories, 12 specialist clinics for dermatology, obstetrics and gynaecology, and ophthalmology and for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and ear, nose and throat illnesses, and 17 special-care clinics each for the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. The steady increase in demand for health services created by population growth and the rising cost of alternatives to Agency services continued to tax UNRWA's health care programme. The number of pregnant women seeking antenatal care increased by more than 15 per cent, and the number of children who received regular care and monitoring increased by approximately 10 per cent. That increase in demand, however, was not matched by a concomitant increase in human resources owing to the limited financial means available to the Agency. Thus, recent achievements in lowering the patient-doctor ratio began to be reversed, and excessively heavy patient loads again emerged as a potential threat to the quality of the Agency's health services.
92. Efforts to expand the health infrastructure continued at a rate commensurate with available funding. A new mother and child health centre was established at Irbid, and work to expand the health point in Kraymeh in the Jordan Valley was completed. Three additional laboratories were established in the new health centre in Awajan in the Zarqa area, in the mother and child health clinic in Irbid and in the Jordan Valley. Funds were secured under the Peace Implementation Programme for construction and equipment of a mother and child health centre in Zarqa, on which work was expected to begin in late 1994.
93. Owing to the difficulties encountered by the refugee population in gaining access to government hospital services because of an acute shortage of beds, the Agency's scheme for reimbursement of costs incurred by refugees for treatment at government and non-government hospitals was revised. To ensure wider provision of essential hospital services to the refugees by improving the benefits of the scheme within the approved budget provisions.
Relief and social services
94. Jordan hosted almost 40 per cent of all Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA. The refugee population increased by 11.3 per cent over the year, from 1.07 million at 1 July 1993 to 1.19 million at 30 June 1994. By far the largest number of requests for the updating of family records were from refugees in Jordan, most of them from refugees who had not recently availed themselves of the services of the Agency but who were anxious that its data on their families should be complete and current. As in the previous year, many of the modifications entailed separating nuclear from extended families, with a consequent increase in the number of recorded family units of 21.9 per cent, from 157,659 to 192,184. In the special hardship programme there was a slight reduction in the proportion of refugees qualifying for welfare assistance, from 2.9 per cent in mid-1993 to 2.5 per cent at the end of June 1994. Increased donor funding for shelter rehabilitation Agency-wide allowed for a much-needed diversion of regular funds into a supplemental allocation for Jordan, and the extension of assistance to include those living in substandard housing outside of camps.
95. The relief and social services programme in Jordan included a revolving loan fund which had financed 66 projects with loans in the range of $3,000-$10,000, creating 190 jobs. Of the enterprises supported, 48 per cent were owned and managed by women. Women entrepreneurs were also assisted through a series of training courses in small-business management, first conducted in January 1994 at Amman New Camp. By June 1994, the training courses were expected to reach 600 women at women's programme centres throughout the country. A new women's production unit was opened in Amman New Camp in March, bringing the total number of enterprises hosted by the women's programme centres to three. The successful experience gained in the pilot projects under the Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund - namely, training in specific machine skills sought by employers and in setting up small businesses - led to 60 women securing employment or starting their own enterprises.
96. The women's programme took a step forward in its promotion of legal literacy by opening a legal advice bureau in Amman New Camp in March 1994. Volunteer women from the camp, trained in first-line counselling by lawyers, handled daily requests for information and advice. Women and other family members who needed further professional assistance were referred to qualified lawyers who came to the bureau on a weekly basis and charged only nominal fees. The initiative was welcomed by camp notables as a service to the community as a whole. Other new support services for women included a nursery at the Talbieh women's programme centre, opened in September 1993, and a course at the Jabal el-Hussein women's programme centre on the maintenance of knitting and sewing machines.
97. Important advances were made in the disability programme towards financial sustainability, with three of the five community rehabilitation committees launching income-generating projects over the year. These projects were: the purchase of a tractor to rent out to local farmers in Jerash; a small modern bakery run by disabled workers in Husn camp; and a minibus running a public transport service in Suf camp when not needed for disabled children. These projects provided both employment for disabled persons and income towards the recurrent costs of the rehabilitation programmes for children. An occupational therapist, recruited and financed through local non-governmental organizations, joined the team of specialist advisers assisting the volunteer rehabilitation workers. Emphasis in the rehabilitation programme focused on training for the families of disabled persons in their own homes and on supporting disabled children who attended UNRWA schools. A pilot project in Baqa'a to integrate hearing-impaired children into regular classrooms and to supplement mainstream lessons with special tutoring to address the children's special needs was implemented by the education programme with assistance from the relief and social services programme, a local non-governmental organization and community volunteers. It was intended to repeat that initiative elsewhere should funding become available. The contribution of the Agency to community-based rehabilitation in Jordan was officially recognized by the Jordanian authorities, who requested the Agency's assistance in promoting similar schemes in rural areas of the country. In May, the Agency hosted a conference which brought together international organizations represented in Jordan, under the theme of "equalization of opportunities for disabled persons".
98. The 77 UNRWA schools in Lebanon, including the newly established secondary school, operated relatively normally: about seven per cent of school days were lost as a result of strikes or disturbances. A total of 33,647 pupils were enrolled in Agency elementary and preparatory schools and in the single secondary school, an increase of 475 pupils over the preceding year. UNRWA decided to open a secondary school in the Beirut area because of the lack of access of Palestine refugees in central Lebanon to public sector schools and the prohibitively high cost of private schools. The Agency had not provided any secondary education since 1961. The secondary school, which accepted first-year students only in the 1993/94 school year, would operate at full capacity in 1995/96.
99. The results of the official Brevet examination, conducted in July 1993, for pupils at the fourth preparatory grade reflected a further improvement in student achievement compared with the results of the 1992 examination. To help solidify that trend, education staff continued their efforts by conducting diagnostic and achievement tests, preparing and implementing remedial plans, offering additional class periods and preparing enrichment materials. Special remedial classes were initiated for slow learners and children with learning difficulties.
100. Reconstruction of the school in Ein el-Hilweh which was damaged as a result of violence during the 1991/92 school year, began in December 1993 and was expected to be completed by the end of 1994. Another school was under construction to replace the dilapidated school building in El-Buss camp. Funds were allocated for the construction of two school buildings to replace three deteriorated schools in Beddawi camp. Six school premises in the Tyre, Saida and central Lebanon areas were comprehensively upgraded and renovated. In the 1993/94 school year, 58 per cent of elementary classes and 34 per cent of preparatory classes operated on double shift, thus depriving students of extracurricular activities, while nearly 50 per cent operated in unsatisfactory rented school premises lacking proper facilities, such as adequate classroom space, specialized rooms or playgrounds.
101. The Siblin Training Centre operated normally during the period under review. Training places were provided to 628 students, of whom 516 were men and 112 were women. One class section of the public health inspector course was eliminated following an internal evaluation which revealed that a large number of graduates in this specialization could not find employment in the local labour market. The centre offered post-preparatory courses in electrical, mechanical and building trades, in addition to post-secondary, semi-professional training courses in architectural draughting, business and office practice and electronics and courses to prepare students to become construction technicians. A hairdressing course for women trainees was also offered. However, owing to financial constraints faced by the Agency in 1993, no new students were admitted for the 1993/94 school year in the two new courses introduced in 1992/93, namely hairdressing and auto-electronics. The centre was still in need of extensive improvements, such as upgrading of equipment and construction of additional workshops and renovation of old ones.
102. With regard to the in-service training programme, 24 trade instructors were enrolled in the second year of a three-year course, in addition to 70 schoolteachers and 32 head teachers enrolled in four different in-service training courses. An intensive course was implemented for nine newly appointed school supervisors to improve their supervisory and managerial skills. UNRWA provided 41 university scholarships to Palestine refugee students - including 15 women - who excelled in their baccalaureate examinations to study arts, business administration, engineering, medicine, nutrition, pharmacy and sciences.
103. UNRWA remained the main provider of primary and secondary health care to approximately 340,000 Palestine refugees in Lebanon. Health services were delivered through an expanded infrastructure of 26 health centres or points and mother and child health clinics, 16 dental clinics, 15 laboratories, 5 specialist clinics for cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology and paediatrics and for the treatment of ear, nose and throat illnesses, and 24 special-care clinics each for the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Health care was supported by hospital services provided through contractual arrangements with 12 general and two mental hospitals. With the completion of the necessary training of medical and nursing personnel, the provision of essential equipment and supplies and the appointment of additional professional staff, family planning services were provided at 18 clinics.
104. Several projects for improving and expanding basic health infrastructure were completed, including the renovation of the Ein el-Hilweh health centre, the rehabilitation and extension of the Burj Hammoud, Mina and Beddawi health centres and the construction of a new health centre in Nahr el-Bared camp to replace the old, unsatisfactory premises. In addition, a new laboratory was established at the Mieh Mieh health centre and a dental clinic was established at the Burj Hammoud health centre. Funds were also made available for the construction of a new health centre in Burj el-Shemali camp to replace the former premises.
105. The Agency was still unable to raise the approximately $12 million required to implement development projects to improve the infrastructure for water supply, sewerage and drainage, and solid waste management facilities in the camps. Responding to the urgency of addressing certain needs, the Agency reprogrammed funds to cover the cost of water and sanitation projects, including construction of main sewer lines in Shatila camp and completion of the second phase of an internal sewerage scheme in Nahr el-Bared camp. A new connection was also made between the water network of Burj el-Barajneh camp and the municipal water mains. In addition, the local water authority constructed a septic tank to collect and partially treat the waste water of Dbayeh camp before discharging the effluent into the sea through a newly constructed sewer.
Relief and social services
106. There were 338,290 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon at the end of June 1994, an increase of 3 per cent over the year, which was consistent with estimated population growth. Lebanon continued to have the highest proportion of refugees - 10.8 per cent - enrolled in the special hardship programme, owing to the large number of families without adult males in the household and to restrictions faced by Palestinians in seeking employment in many sectors of the local economy. Over one third of the special hardship cases lived in shelters that did not meet minimum standards of hygiene, soundness of construction or space. The Agency successfully sought funding for shelter improvements both inside and outside of camps for many in that group of refugees. The problem of refugees displaced during the years of conflict in the country persisted. Many of the displaced were squatting on previously abandoned property being reclaimed by lawful owners or were living in makeshift huts on wasteland. In the early months of the period under review, the Agency was able to construct several multi-storey units and rehabilitate individual shelters which had been rendered uninhabitable during the years of conflict. However, while badly needed, these efforts addressed only a small portion of the total need. A new survey in early 1994 showed that 4,175 displaced families still had not found or been provided with satisfactory housing. Ongoing discussions with the Lebanese authorities and the Palestinians were aimed at practical and mutually agreeable solutions.
107. Despite economic constraints, small-scale enterprise projects for poor families achieved considerable success. Of the 245 projects among special hardship cases assisted by the Agency, 174 were earning a sufficient regular income by June 1994 for the families to come off the ration rolls. Loans from the revolving fund were made available to slightly larger enterprises, of which 46 had been financed by the end of June 1994 for a total investment of $278,650, and resulted in the creation of 109 jobs. The knitting cooperative established under the Agency's Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund in Nahr el-Bared was producing good quality, reasonably priced goods, though as yet only primarily for individual orders. Income-earning opportunities for members were provided by nine of the women's programme centres.
108. The women's programme centres increased by two when a local committee in Iqlim el-Kharroub was given a financial subsidy to launch new centres in Shaheem and Wadi el-Zeineh. Women's committees were trained in the management of community programmes, and three of the 12 centres were community-managed by the end of June 1994. Aside from production skills and income-generation, literacy training was an important component of the programme in Lebanon, to help compensate for years of disrupted schooling. Over the year, 100 women attended classes and tutors were given extra training to upgrade their teaching skills. A legal literacy course was conducted in Ein el-Hilweh camp. Of the women regularly attending the centres, 2 per cent were disabled, and a more concerted effort was planned to integrate more disabled women into the programme.
109. The community rehabilitation committees were also trained in programme management and financial administration, as well as in rehabilitation skills. The carpentry unit at Rashidieh camp trained 10 disabled young men for employment. The Nahr el-Bared committee received a donation to establish an enterprise which would employ disabled adults and contribute to the running costs of the rehabilitation activities. At that centre also, an extra class was added for deaf children and a new class begun for children with mobility impairment. In the Saida area, the emphasis was on integrating children into mainstream schooling and on supporting the initiatives of disabled persons. The Palestinian Disabled People's Union in Ein el-Hilweh camp set an example for others with such projects as a toy library and provision of physiotherapy, for which the Agency helped secure special funding. In Ein el-Hilweh, parents of children with cerebral palsy received training in design and production of rehabilitation aids, such as crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. The training offered by the local committee was in coordination with a non-governmental organization. Summer camps and the inclusion of disabled children in sports events were again highlights of the reporting period.
VII. SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
110. The 109 UNRWA schools in the Syrian Arab Republic accommodated 61,263 pupils in the 1993/94 school year, an increase of 1,047 pupils over the previous year. Many UNRWA school premises remained inadequate and severely overcrowded, with 97 per cent of elementary classes and 91 per cent of preparatory classes operating on a double-shift basis, which meant that neither the morning nor the afternoon groups had sufficient opportunity for extracurricular activities. Moreover, 16 per cent of the schools were accommodated in unsatisfactory rented premises lacking proper facilities. Despite those difficulties, pupils in the third preparatory grade in UNRWA schools achieved a success rate of 91.3 per cent in the state preparatory examination conducted in mid-1994, compared with a national average of 56.1 per cent.
111. UNRWA did not have sufficient funds to carry out its planned construction programme to alleviate overcrowded conditions, replace unsatisfactory rented premises, avoid triple shifting and provide specialized rooms such as laboratories and libraries. Nevertheless, the Agency was able to complete the construction of one school of 26 classrooms to replace unsatisfactory rented premises and six classrooms to avoid triple shifting; two schools of 25 classrooms were under construction at the end of June 1994. Funds were received under the Peace Implementation Programme to construct a school at al-Mazzeh in Damascus to replace unsatisfactory rented premises.
112. The Damascus Training Centre operated normally. A total of 830 trainees were enrolled in the 20 courses, exceeding the 776 training places for which the Agency had budgeted. Of those students, 114 were women and 165 were full boarders. Courses covered a wide spectrum of mechanical, electrical and building trades. Semi-professional studies were also available, including paramedical, technical, business and office practice, and electronics courses. The Damascus Training Centre, which was established in 1961, had never been upgraded or comprehensively maintained because of lack of funds. In 1993, UNRWA allocated $770,000 for the first phase of a plan for upgrading the centre's premises and equipment. The centre still needed additional funds to complete the upgrading and introduce new courses in skills in wide demand in the local market.
113. In-service training continued to be offered to teachers, head teachers, school supervisors and instructors to upgrade their qualifications, meet curricular changes, update teaching methodologies and develop skills in education administration. A total of 127 education staff members enrolled in the in-service training courses. An intensive training course for 13 school supervisors was conducted to improve their supervisory and managerial skills. The Agency provided 186 university scholarships to Palestine refugee students -of whom 71 were women - who had excelled in the general secondary school examination, to study at Syrian universities in specializations such as arts, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine and pharmacy.
114. Approximately 330,000 Palestine refugees benefited from UNRWA's health care services in the Syrian Arab Republic. Those services were provided through 21 health centres or points and mother and child health clinics, 12 dental clinics, 17 laboratories, 3 specialist clinics for cardiovascular diseases, paediatrics and obstetrics, and gynaecology, and 21 special-care clinics each for the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension, and were supplemented by hospital care provided through contractual agreements at eight hospitals.
115. Marked progress was made towards improvement in the health infrastructure of primary health care facilities during the period under review. Three new health points were constructed at al-Husseineh and Ramadan villages, as well as at the Vocational Training Centre in Damascus. Also, four dental clinics were established in the Alliance, Khan Danoun, Khan Eshieh and Sbeineh health centres, and six laboratories were established in the health centres in Aleppo town, Alliance, Ein el-Tal, Hama, Jouber and Muzeireeb. In addition, major renovation of the health centre in Neirab camp, expansion of the field pharmacy and installation of a cold room for storing vaccines were completed, and pledges were made under the Peace Implementation Programme to construct new health centres in Homs and Sbeineh camps to replace unsatisfactory premises, as well as to remodel and upgrade the Yarmouk health centre and expand the mother and child health centre.
116. Cooperation with the Ministry of Health was further reinforced, either directly or jointly with UNICEF, through active participation in all health activities launched at the national level, including the control of diabetes mellitus and of iodine-deficiency disorders, disease surveillance, the poliomyelitis eradication campaign and integration of the hepatitis B vaccine within the expanded programme of immunization.
Relief and social services
117. The refugee population registered with UNRWA in the Syrian Arab Republic increased by 4.6 per cent, from 314,000 in June 1993 to 327,288 at the end of June 1994, mainly reflecting population growth. A pilot project to make computerized registration data accessible in the Syrian Arab Republic and permit Agency staff to enter modifications locally was successfully completed in late 1993 and fully operational in 1994. As a consequence, there were significant savings in time for both staff and refugees and the Agency would be able to make fuller use of this data for programme planning.
118. Enrolment in the special hardship programme fell slightly, to 6 per cent of the total registered population. There were, however, here as elsewhere, many impoverished refugees who did not meet the strict criteria for admission to the welfare rolls. One example could be found in Neirab camp, where 3,250 refugees (600 households) were living in dilapidated army barracks intended to be temporary when they were constructed during the Second World War. The anticipated provision of land by the Government and special donor funds enabled UNRWA to begin the planning of a project to provide low-cost, multi-storey housing for that community. With a special contribution, apartments would be built for 120 families at nearby Ein el-Tal and, if further financing were received, at the barracks site itself. Enhanced donor interest in the housing conditions of the refugees in general made increased budget allocations possible for shelter rehabilitation for special hardship families in the Syrian Arab Republic.
119. In late 1993 the poverty alleviation programme for special hardship and other needy families completed the transformation of its base from grants to loans. A group-guaranteed lending scheme was initiated through which short-term interest-free loans were made available to group members to finance micro-enterprises. By the end of June 1994, 15 such groups had been formed, with a total revolving fund capital of $31,766, augmented by the savings of group members. The interest in the project shown by visiting donor representatives encouraged the Agency to begin plans to extend the programme Agency-wide, which would help fill an important gap in credit programmes in the area. Women's groups were a particular target for training in micro-enterprise development, with structured courses at 12 women's programme centres throughout the year. An immediate outcome was the formation of women's loan groups in Aleppo and Latakia. The food preservation and marketing cooperative in Dera'a, established under the Agency's Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund, achieved a 19 per cent profit margin and was expected to become fully independent of Agency support by the end of 1994.
120. In the women's programme centres, all training and other activities were fully under the direct planning and supervision of elected women's committees by September 1993, and those committees received further training to build up their capacity to manage the centres effectively. At the Yarmouk centre, the community financed a day-care unit for the children of working mothers; another day-care centre run by three women from special hardship families was established on a self-financing basis for the staff of the Agency's field office in Damascus. Training in early childhood development and managing preschool facilities was given to women volunteers at six centres. In Ein el-Tal, a course was held in legal literacy and classes in literacy and numeracy were conducted in Khan Danoun.
121. The disability programme paid special attention to the involvement of and support to parents in the rehabilitation of their disabled children. Training sessions for support groups of parents taught methods of dealing with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities and led to a workshop to manufacture simple, low-cost mobility aids such as crutches and walkers. In Dera'a, parents began to make monthly contributions towards the running costs of the community rehabilitation centre which also expanded its fund-raising activities by adding a stationery shop to its production of school bags. Project planning for an income-earning enterprise for disabled persons in Damascus was at an advanced stage and awaiting funding. A mentally retarded child from the Neirab community rehabilitation centre won first prize in the first Arab regional drawing competition for disabled children, held in mid-1993.
VIII. OCCUPIED WEST BANK AND SELF-RULE AREA OF JERICHO
122. In the West Bank, UNRWA's 100 elementary and preparatory schools served a student population of 42,589 pupils in 1993/94, an increase of 279 pupils over the preceding school year. Agency schools continued to suffer from periodic disruption as a result of military closure orders, curfews and movement restrictions, as well as from general strikes. Education services were severely affected by the closure of the occupied territory following the massacre in the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron on 25 February 1994. Schools located in the Jerusalem area were the most affected because teachers holding West Bank identity cards were not allowed to travel to Jerusalem or to cross Jerusalem
to other localities. By the end of June 1994, Agency schools had lost 14 per cent of school days. UNRWA continued to distribute self-learning materials, worksheets and audiovisual aids to pupils, especially in the most affected areas. The three West Bank training centres were also severely affected by the closure in late February. By the end of June 1994, the amount of training time lost stood at 15 per cent at the Ramallah Women's Training Centre, 24 per cent at the Ramallah Men's Training Centre and 31 per cent at the Kalandia Training Centre.
123. Overcrowding, as a result of natural population growth and the lack of suitable sites available to UNRWA for the construction of additional classrooms or schools, remained a problem, affecting village-based schools in particular. Over 25 per cent of schools were accommodated in unsatisfactory rented premises which lacked proper facilities. A number of schools built in the 1950s or 1960s had deteriorated to such an extent that they required replacement for safety reasons. Projects developed under the Agency's Peace Implementation Programme targeted such problems, as well as the improvement of the educational infrastructure in general. Contributions amounting to almost $10 million had been received or pledged for constructing and equipping nine schools, upgrading nine schools, and constructing and equipping thirteen specialized rooms and eight classrooms to avoid triple shifting. During the period under review, the Agency constructed three schools to replace unsatisfactory rented premises, four classrooms to avoid triple shifting and seven specialized rooms. In addition, two other schools were under construction to replace unsatisfactory rented premises. Budgetary constraints prompted a decision to suspend the introduction of the tenth grade in the basic education cycle that had been scheduled for September 1993.
124. The three Agency training centres in the West Bank - two at Ramallah and one at Kalandia - provided 1,216 training places in vocational and technical courses to Palestine refugee youth, an increase of 60 places over the 1992/93 training year. The increase was a result of the introduction of new courses in ceramics, computer studies and social work at the Ramallah Women's Training Centre. The Centre also continued to offer courses in business administration, clothing production, dental hygiene, hairdressing and nursing, as well as studies which prepared students for employment as laboratory technicians, assistant pharmacists and physiotherapy assistants. At the Ramallah Men's Training Centre, courses in business administration, computer science, financial management and marketing were provided. In addition to courses in the building, electrical, electronic, mechanical and metal trades, the Kalandia Training Centre offered post-secondary technical courses to prepare students to become construction technicians, architectural draughtsmen and land surveyors. The three training centres continued to organize short-term courses of 20 or 40 weeks' duration to train assistant accountants, assistant social workers, executive secretaries, and technicians in the repair of electrical home appliances.
125. A major development during the reporting period was the opening of the Educational Sciences Faculty (ESF) at the two Ramallah training centres, offering four-year courses of study leading to a first-level university degree. The four-year programme replaced the two-year teacher-training programme offered previously. The ESF was established in September 1993 and obtained the accreditation of the Palestine Council of Higher Education. The programme provided 300 training places in the first and second years. In 1995/96, when the ESF would be running at full capacity, the programme would have 600 training places in specializations such as general classroom teachers and teachers of Arabic, English, mathematics and science. In the coming years, 2,560 serving UNRWA teachers holding only a two-year certificate would take courses leading to a four-year degree. To upgrade the qualifications of the serving teaching staff, meet curricular changes, develop the skills of head teachers in educational administration, 57 teachers, head teachers and instructors were enrolled in in-service training courses. UNRWA awarded university scholarships to 165 students, 95 of them women, to attend universities in the region to study agriculture, arts, business administration, computer science, dentistry, economics, engineering, laboratory technology, law, and pharmacy.
126. UNRWA delivered primary health care services to over 500,000 Palestine refugees in the West Bank through a network of 34 health centres or points, 16 dental clinics, 17 laboratories, and 34 special-care clinics each for the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Six physiotherapy clinics, operated jointly with UNICEF, treated disabilities arising mainly from injuries. By the end of June 1994, the Agency had assumed sole responsibility for the physiotherapy programme. In addition, hospital care was provided by the Agency's 42-bed general hospital in Qalqilia, as well as on a contractual basis by four non-governmental organization hospitals where beds were reserved by UNRWA for the treatment of refugee patients. The Agency also continued to provide refugees with financial assistance towards the cost of specialized medical care at Makassed Hospital, Jerusalem, and public-sector hospitals in Israel, where such care was not readily available in the West Bank.
127. In addition to projects which had been started under the expanded programme of assistance (EPA) to upgrade health infrastructure, contributions to the Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) were received for constructing and equipping six additional health centres in Camp No. 1 and the villages of Beit Ur, Biddo, Ein Arik, Ramadin and Ya'bad. Construction of new health centres in Far'a and Tulkarm camps and Auja village, to replace unsatisfactory premises, and upgrading of health centres in Balata and Jalazone camps and Jerusalem were completed, and the remodelling and upgrading of Qalqilia Hospital was well under way by the end of June 1994. UNRWA provided the incoming Palestinian health authority in the Jericho Area with medical supplies to cover shortages experienced during the hand-over period from Israeli to Palestinian responsibility.
128. UNRWA continued to make a marked contribution towards the improvement of environmental sanitation infrastructure in refugee camps. Construction of internal sewerage schemes in Askar and Jenin camps was completed, and similar projects were started in Nur Shams and Tulkarm camps. The ultimate objective of those projects was to connect the sewerage schemes of the camps with nearby municipal systems. However, five refugee camps - Arroub, Far'a, Fawwar, Jalazone and Kalandia - were located where they could not be connected to proper disposal systems. Funds were secured for feasibility studies to identify technical options for improvement of sewerage and drainage in those camps. The need for development of the Jericho area in the context of the Declaration of Principles prompted the Agency to plan for improvement of camp infrastructure in that area, including constructing a water reservoir in Aqabat Jabr camp and sponsoring a feasibility study on sewerage and storm-water drainage for the entire Jericho area.
Relief and social services
129. In the West Bank, the registered refugee population increased by 5.2 per cent, from 479,023 in June 1993 to 504,070 at the end of June 1994. The proportion of refugees enrolled in the special hardship programme fell slightly, to 6.0 per cent, despite continuing economic difficulties in the West Bank, including the loss of work opportunities in Israel. Many needy families who did not meet the criteria for enrolment in the special hardship programme received help through emergency food distributions, carried out in response to the repeated sealing off of the West Bank.
130. A survey conducted in mid-1993 revealed that many more special hardship families were living in substandard housing conditions than had previously been estimated. Some 2,000 shelters were found to be in need of major repair, and 1,500 required reconstruction, representing 40 per cent of the special hardship households. Funds received from special contributions (EPA and PIP) made it possible to rehabilitate 59 shelters over the year, and work was under way on 204 more. Particular emphasis was placed on the inclusion of refugee families in the work of rehabilitation and in participatory financing of the programme. Funds were pledged under PIP to address the housing needs of about 2,000 families. Given the prevailing economic climate and security problems, poverty alleviation schemes suffered a set-back. Nevertheless, 75 special hardship families were helped to set up micro-enterprises and plans were made for a group-guaranteed lending scheme. An effort was also made to promote cooperatives at the women's programme centres, six of which had established enterprises by June 1994, providing regular income for 55 women.
131. Two of the 14 women's programme centres, at Am'ari camp, housed in newly built premises, and Fawwar camp, became fully managed by elected women's committees, with technical and financial assistance from Agency staff. Committees from all women's centres came together to form a coordinating committee, from which a delegate was admitted in January 1994 to membership in the General Union of Palestinian Women. UNRWA's Women's Programme Officer in the West Bank was appointed to the executive committee of the Union. Through those means, the women's programme was gradually being integrated into the broader network of women's organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an essential step on the path to greater independence of the programme. A pilot workshop in legal literacy was started in Balata camp in early 1994, covering civic education issues, as well as the personal status of women in Islamic law. Classes in literacy and numeracy were conducted for 187 women.
132. The disability programme was linked to other organizations concerned with disability issues through membership in the Central National Coordinating Committee for Rehabilitation, in which the Agency's Disability Programme Officer served in an advisory capacity. At the end of 1993, Committee members participated in a workshop to initiate preparations for a Palestinian rehabilitation plan. After a period of considerable expansion in the previous biennium, Agency staff concentrated on building up existing community-based programmes, especially in the areas of home outreach activities and support for disabled children attending mainstream schools. UNRWA held discussions with local clubs to promote the development of sports activities for disabled persons. Both summer and winter camps were held for disabled children. With financial assistance from the Agency, community rehabilitation committees undertook modifications to the homes of disabled persons to make them more conducive to independent daily living. The Disability Programme Officer attended a one-year postgraduate course in community-based rehabilitation designed to enhance the skills and know-how of programme planners and trainers.
133. The youth activities programme, reactivated in 1993, received a boost through a joint UNDP-UNICEF-UNRWA project to renovate premises, upgrade facilities and provide leadership training. Elected committees combined to form a union of youth activities centres, together with other Palestinian clubs, and the Agency set up a mechanism to coordinate with the union. Aside from cultural and sports programmes, the centres committed themselves to participation in community service, exemplified by the efforts of members of the Shu'fat Youth Activity Centre to work with parents and teachers to find ways of helping children in the camp whose attainment levels in literacy and numeracy were below the norms for their age group.
IX. SELF-RULE AREA OF THE GAZA STRIP
134. UNRWA's 154 elementary and preparatory schools in the Gaza Strip served a student population of 109,699, in the 1993/94 school year, an increase of more than 4,990 pupils over the preceding year. Disruption in education as a result of military closure orders, curfews and general strikes continued to decline during the period under review. By the end of June 1994, about 10 per cent of school days had been lost as a result of such measures, compared to 16 per cent for the previous year. In order to compensate for the loss of teaching time, self-learning materials were distributed to all schools. During relatively quiet periods, such materials were distributed for the purpose of providing remedial work to cover the accumulated weakness of students in academic achievement. During military-ordered closures of certain schools, teaching was provided in mosques or at privately owned sites. Extra class periods before and after school hours were provided by the teaching staff on a voluntary basis. To make up for part of the lost teaching time, the school year was extended for two weeks in June 1994.
135. To assess the impact of school closures and to provide the pupils with remedial education to improve their academic skills, diagnostic tests were conducted for all pupils. Remedial plans, based on the outcome of those tests, were prepared and implemented. In addition, remedial classes for slow learners and pupils with special learning difficulties were established to provide pupils with the learning activities that would enable them to improve their achievement levels.
136. A rapidly growing student population, on the one hand, and the limited availability of funds to expand educational infrastructure and recruit additional teachers, on the other, resulted in serious overcrowding in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip. By the end of June 1994, it was not uncommon to have over 50 children in a classroom. Many Agency schools, especially those built in the 1950s and 1960s with brick and false ceilings, had deteriorated to the extent that some were becoming unsafe. To cope with the high increase in the school population and to avoid triple shifting, two schools comprising 33 classrooms and an additional 40 classrooms elsewhere, plus administration and specialized rooms were constructed. In addition, 11 specialized rooms (library, laboratory or multi-purpose rooms) were completed. Under the Peace Implementation Programme (PIP), funds were received or pledged for the construction of 20 new schools, comprehensive maintenance for 5 schools, painting of 70 schools, reconstruction of boundary walls and replacement of glass panes at 100 schools, and construction of 25 playgrounds. By the end of June 1994, many of those projects were well under way. With the arrival of the Palestinian education authority, arrangements were being made to begin comprehensive maintenance of public-sector schools, for which funds had been received.
137. The Gaza Training Centre provided 708 training places to 669 men and 39 women. The centre offered 13 two-year vocational training courses in the mechanical, electrical and building trades and 3 two-year semi-professional courses in physiotherapy, industrial electronics and business and office practice. The centre also provided short-term vocational training courses of 20 to 40 weeks' duration for assistant accountants, commercial computer operators, concrete-form workers and tile setters, as well as a course in aluminium fabrication. Owing to military closure orders, curfews and other factors related to unrest and tension, the centre had lost 25 per cent of training days by the end of June 1994, which would necessitate extending the training year until late October 1994, in addition to the compensatory activities being implemented by the Centre. Students from Gaza enrolled at UNRWA training centres in the West Bank continued to face great difficulty in obtaining permission from the Israeli authorities to leave the Strip. Intensified movement restrictions imposed in late February 1994 remained in effect at the end of June 1994. Women students from Gaza were allowed by the Israeli authorities to rejoin their training centre in the West Bank at the end of April 1994. By the end of June, most of the male trainees from Gaza had also been allowed to return to their studies in the West Bank.
138. The in-service training programme was offered to teachers, head teachers, school supervisors and instructors to upgrade their qualifications, meet curricular changes, update teaching methodologies and develop skills in educational management. Over 220 education staff benefited from that programme. UNRWA also awarded university scholarships to 218 Palestine refugee students -including 81 women - who had excelled in their
(secondary school) examinations, to pursue studies in specializations such as agriculture, arts, business administration, computer science, dentistry, education, engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and science.
139. UNRWA delivered primary health care services to over 640,000 Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip through a network of nine health centres, eight mother and child health sub-centres, eleven dental clinics, nine laboratories, eight specialist clinics for cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology and paediatrics, and nine special-care clinics each for the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. The joint UNICEF-UNRWA physiotherapy programme, operating out of six clinics mainly for the treatment of injuries sustained during confrontations, was taken over by the Agency in 1994. In addition, UNRWA operated six maternity units with a total of 60 beds, where approximately one third of all refugee babies were delivered. Hospital services were offered to refugees through a contractual arrangement with a non-governmental organization hospital where 50 beds were reserved for the treatment of refugees and through financial assistance towards the cost of treatment at public-sector hospitals.
140. The special arrangement of providing an afternoon shift service in the five large camps and Gaza town was maintained, and construction of new health centres in Beach camp and Tel el-Sultan (Rafah) was started after considerable delays attributable to external factors. Most of the health and health-related project proposals under PIP were funded, including comprehensive maintenance of the existing nursing school, upgrading of medical equipment, reconstruction of mother and child health clinics in Beit Hanoun and Fakhoura and maintenance of Bani Suheila, renovation of the health centres in Khan Younis and Rafah camps and of the Rimal health centre, construction and equipment of a dental clinic at the health centre in Maghazi camp and construction and equipment of a new college of nursing and allied health professions, to be operated in conjunction with the UNRWA General Hospital. Construction of the 232-bed hospital funded by the European Union was well under way and was expected to be completed by the end of 1995. A special contribution was made towards the cost of hospital equipment, including a combined income-generation and technology-transfer programme for the local production of furniture. Under a special contribution to PIP, the Agency would provide equipment for a public-sector hospital, Shifa, based on specifications determined by the Palestinian health authority.
141. Progress was made by the Special Environmental Health Programme, which was established by the Agency in Gaza in 1992 to undertake comprehensive planning and project implementation to improve environmental health infrastructure in camps and adjacent municipalities comprising water supply, sewerage and drainage and solid-waste management. Feasibility studies for sewerage and drainage were completed for Beach camp, Jabalia town and camp, the Rafah area and three of the Middle camps - Bureij, Maghazi and Nuseirat. Work was also well under way for the upgrading of pumping stations and the Gaza waste-water treatment plant, as well as the construction of a sewer pressure line in Beach camp. Under PIP, contributions were received towards the implementation of capital projects to address the appalling environmental health conditions prevalent in Gaza. Projects funded included the improvement of solid-waste disposal in Beach camp, upgrading of garbage depository sites in camps, upgrading of municipal refuse collection and disposal systems, and sewerage and drainage improvements in Deir el-Balah camp.
Relief and social services
142. The registered refugee population in the Gaza Strip increased by 6.6 per cent over the year, from 603,380 to 643,600, reflecting the high birth rate and the updating of family records. Given the exceptional economic difficulties and the heavy impact which the loss of work opportunities in Israel had had on unemployment, it was not surprising that Gaza had the second highest proportion of refugees enrolled in the special hardship programme, 9.3 per cent, exceeded only by Lebanon. It was necessary to mount emergency relief programmes four times during the year under review. The findings of a house-to-house survey in mid-1993 revealed that over 60 per cent of special hardship families were living in housing in need of re-roofing, major repairs or reconstruction. Some 5,000 of these houses were found to be in need of reconstruction or major repairs and 2,800 additional houses needed re-roofing only. Major donor investment in shelter rehabilitation made improvements possible for over 700 homes during the year, and a further 2,520 shelters were in the process of repair or reconstruction at the end of June 1994. Funds were pledged under PIP to address the housing needs of over 3,100 families. Re-roofing was carried out by the families themselves, with materials and technical advice from the Agency. Through the shelter-rehabilitation programme, jobs were created for small contractors and labourers from the refugee camps who carried out the improvements.
143. The poverty alleviation programme promoted micro-enterprise principally through a revolving mini-loans fund which, by June 1994, had extended assistance to 126 poor refugees, of whom 56 were women and 25 were disabled persons. Women were encouraged to venture into commercial food production projects, through courses in such skills as freezing and drying, conducted by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees at UNRWA women's programme centres. In the spring of 1994, a group-guaranteed lending scheme was inaugurated for women. At the end of June 1994, the first loans were issued under the new programme to four solidarity groups, with a total of 17 members. The majority of the borrowers were micro-vendors who sold goods in the street markets of Gaza and lived in conditions of extreme poverty. Their enterprise activities allowed them to eke out a marginal living for themselves and their families.
144. By June 1994, special donor funding had enabled UNRWA to embark on the replacement or upgrading of all 15 women's programme centres. As elsewhere, locally elected committees began training to assume administrative management of the centres. Community libraries financed under the Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund were examples of new services run by the women themselves and were intended to become fully self-financing after an initial start-up period. The Khan Younis camp library opened in July 1993, and in Nuseirat camp, women volunteers were trained and books and equipment purchased in early 1994. The experience of the pilot legal-literacy project of the preceding year led to the production of a manual on women's rights and obligations in civil and Islamic law. A new series of legal-literacy workshops to be conducted in all women's programme centres began in early 1994, drawing in women from the surrounding community and from women's organizations. Civic education was a part of the course, as well as civil and religious law.
145. The community rehabilitation committees for the disabled developed their programmes over the year with technical assistance from the Agency in addition to financial subsidies towards running costs. Home-based programmes for families of disabled persons and training for the mothers of sight-impaired children were expanded, and mainstreaming of children in regular schools was further encouraged. In early 1994, the committees and other non-governmental organizations working in the field of disability in Gaza came together under the sponsorship of the Palestine Council of Health to develop a coordinated action plan for 1994/95. The UNRWA Disability Programme Officer also participated. Networking between the community rehabilitation programmes and local services for disabled persons was facilitated through a system of referrals for specialized treatment and training, subsidized by UNRWA, and through donations to help establish new services, for example, for children suffering from Down's syndrome for whom no help had hitherto been locally available. The progress made by professionals and volunteers in Gaza in building up facilities for disabled persons made it possible for the Agency to seek assistance locally for greater numbers of children, thereby avoiding the disadvantages to the child of residential care in another country and involving families in the rehabilitation process.
146. Summer camps for both disabled and able-bodied children were a welcome experience for several hundred children of all ages in 1993. The recently reactivated youth activity centres resumed their traditionally important role in the summer camps. Youth activity centres were assisted in the upgrading of premises and diversification of programmes through a joint UNDP-UNICEF-UNRWA project, which supplemented the Agency's own substantial efforts in 1993 in this regard. The role of Agency staff in the promotion of community development programmes was expected to be further advanced with the return of two key staff in the summer of 1994 from one-year postgraduate training courses.
Exchange of letters dated 24 June 1994 between the Commissioner
General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for
Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Chairman of
the Palestine Liberation Organization for the purpose of
facilitating UNRWA to continue to provide its assistance to the
Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area
and in the remainder of the West Bank
24 June 1994
I have the honour to refer to the Declaration of Principles on the Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, and the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed in Cairo on 4 May 1994, between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. To the extent the Palestinian Authority assumes powers and responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in the remainder of the West Bank, I wish to confirm our agreement that, at the request of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would continue its assistance to the Palestinian people in these areas.
Accordingly, in order to facilitate the rendering of UNRWA's historic services to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and developing fresh initiatives towards their social and economic well being, the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the representative of the Palestinian people, agrees to apply in all relations with UNRWA Articles 100, 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, which the Palestine Liberation Organization, not being party to, nonetheless adopts by reference.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Palestine Liberation Organization in particular agrees:
(a) To ensure the protection and security of the personnel, installations and property of UNRWA;
(b) To permit unrestricted freedom of entry and exit without delay or hindrance, of supplies, goods and equipment into and out of the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority including movement within the area;
(c) To permit unrestricted freedom of movement into, out of, and within the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority;
(d) To recognize UNRWA's right to fly the United Nations flag on premises, vehicles and on other means of transport;
(e) To provide unrestricted communication by radio, satellite, or other means, and to facilitate connections with the United Nations communication network;
(f) To provide, free of charge, landing and port facilities as may become available for the use of the Palestinian Authority, or which may be established within the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority;
(g) To recognize UNRWA's exemption from customs duties, taxes and charges on importation of supplies, goods and equipment; and
(h) To provide, free of charge, all necessary labour for offloading and handling, warehousing and transport by rail or road, of supplies, goods and equipment destined for use in the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
If the foregoing represents the understanding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, I wish to propose that this letter and your reply in that sense be regarded as constituting an agreement in the matter.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
) Ilter TÜRKMEN
His Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat
Palestine Liberation Organization
* The present annex is being published as received, without formal editing.
24 June 1994
I have the honour to refer to your letter of 24 June 1994 in which you have set down our understandings with respect to continuing UNRWA's assistance to the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which letter reads as follows:
"I have the honour to refer to the Declaration of Principles on the Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, and the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed in Cairo on 4 May 1994, between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. To the extent the Palestinian Authority assumes powers and responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in the remainder of the West Bank, I wish to confirm our agreement that, at the request of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would continue its assistance to the Palestinian people in these areas.
"Accordingly, in order to facilitate the rendering of UNRWA's historic services to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and developing fresh initiatives towards their social and economic well being, the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the representative of the Palestinian people, agrees to apply in all relations with UNRWA Articles 100, 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, which the Palestine Liberation Organization, not being party to, nonetheless adopts by reference.
"Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Palestine Liberation Organization in particular agrees:
"(a) To ensure the protection and security of the personnel, installations and property of UNRWA;
"(b) To permit unrestricted freedom of entry and exit without delay or hindrance, of supplies, goods and equipment into and out of the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority including movement within the area;
"(c) To permit unrestricted freedom of movement into, out of, and within the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority;
"(d) To recognize UNRWA's right to fly the United Nations flag on premises, vehicles and on other means of transport;
"(e) To provide unrestricted communication by radio, satellite, or other means, and to facilitate connections with the United Nations communication network;
"(f) To provide, free of charge, landing and port facilities as may become available for the use of the Palestinian Authority, or which may be established within the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority;
"(g) To recognize UNRWA's exemption from customs duties, taxes and charges on importation of supplies, goods and equipment; and
"(h) To provide, free of charge, all necessary labour for offloading and handling, warehousing and transport by rail or road, of supplies, goods and equipment destined for use in the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
"If the foregoing represents the understanding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, I wish to propose that this letter and your reply in that sense be regarded as constituting an agreement in the matter.
"Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration."
I have the honour to confirm that your letter accurately reflects our understandings and I agree that your letter as quoted above and my acceptance of it should be regarded as constituting an agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization and UNRWA on the matter.
My understanding is that the Palestinian Authority will assume powers and responsibilities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.
In conclusion, once again, I wish to put on record our great appreciation and gratitude to the Commissioner-General and the staff of UNRWA for the exemplary way they have carried out their mandate in rendering historic services and assistance to the Palestine refugees wherever they are, be it in Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. I trust that I can count on the continuation of these services both in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and elsewhere, until the Palestine refugee problem has been resolved in accordance with principles of human rights and the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) and Security Council Resolution 237 (1967).
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
) Yasser ARAFAT
Palestine Liberation Organization
Mr. Ilter Türkmen
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
(1 July 1993-30 June 1994)
Type of service
Syrian Arab Republic
Number of health units
Number of laboratories
Number of diabetes clinics
Number of specialist clinics
Number of dental clinics
Number of patient visits:
1 412 044
2 206 508
5 895 120
In-patient (hospital) care
Hospitals beds subsidized
Number of patients admitted
Maternal and child health care
Pregnant women under supervision
Children below 3 years under
Expanded programme of immunization
Number of infants who received
full primary series:
Triple (DPT) vaccine
Number of school entrants examined
Number of booster vaccinations
Number of family-planning
/ Including visits for medical consultations, injections and dressings.
/ In the Jordan Field, the Agency does not maintain any contractual agreements with government or private hospitals but rather applies a system of reimbursement of costs incurred by refugees.
Trends in incidence of selected communicable diseases
Staff members arrested and detained
(1 July 1993-30 June 1994)
Syrian Arab Republic
Arrested and released without charge or trial
Charged, tried and sentenced
Still in detention
/ Detained by Syrian forces in Lebanon.
Expenditure for 1992-1993 and budget for 1994-1995
for UNRWA's regular programmes
(millions of United States dollars)
Total 1994-1995 operational budget
Relief and social services
/ The 1994-1995 common costs contain various reserves, including equipment, temporary assistance and fields and headquarters operational reserves amounting to $11.2 million. Over the biennium, these reserves will be spread over the programme according to actual expenditure allocation.
/ Total expenditure figures include $4.6 million in expenditure made in 1992-1993 against regular budget projects originating in previous years' budgets.
UNRWA in figures
(as at June 1994)
Syrian Arab Republic
Country area (sq km)
Country population (CP)
2 700 000
14 300 000
4 100 000
1 200 000
23 150 000
Registered refugees (RR)
1 193 539
3 006 787
RR growth (%) 1993/94
RR as % of country population
RR as % of total RR
RR in camps (RRCs)
RRCs as % of RR
Pupils (1993/94 enrolment)
Female pupils (%)
Cost per elementary pupil ($) - 1993/94
Cost per preparatory pupil ($) - 1993/94
Vocational training places (93/94)
Teacher-training places (93/94)
In-service teacher training (93/94)
University scholarships (1993/94)
Diabetes care clinics
Annual patient visits
1 412 044
2 206 508
5 895 120
Indoor water supply in camps (%)
Sewered shelters in camps (%)
Special hardship cases (SHCs)
SHCs as % of RR
Women's programme centres
Community rehabilitation centres
Active self-support projects
Income-generation loans ($)
3 344 273
1 380 000
5 407 297
Area staff (posts)
International staff (posts)
Regular budget, 1994
Relief and social
Total regular budget, 1994
EMLOT budget, 1994
Unemployment % (estimates)
Illiteracy %: 15 Years+ (est.)
Infant mortality/1,000 (est.)
/ All references are to installations operated by UNRWA
/ Thousands of dollars
/ M = Male; F = Female
Pertinent records of the General Assembly and
other United Nations bodies
General Assembly resolutions
94-34440 (E) -67-