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        Economic and Social Council
23 May 1978


Second regular session, 1978
Agenda item 28
Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of
Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations


Report of the Secretary-General


The following information has been received from the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on action taken by them in implementation of Economic and Social Council resolution 2100 (LXIIl).

International Labour Organization

1. In a letter dated 18 August 1977, the International Labour Office consulted the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Geneva as to I the type of assistance which the International Labour Organisation could usefully provide to the Palestinian people. At this first consultation, vocational training for skilled workers and foremen and fellowships for social and labour studies were cited as examples of the possibilities available in the context of ILO activities.

2. So far, no reply has been received but we know from informal talks that the PLO plans to discuss this question through the observer delegation which it is sending to the next session of the International Labour Conference in June. Once these consultations have taken place, the International Labour Office will be able to draw up specific projects which could then be discussed with UNDP and the Economic Commission for Western Asia.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

1. UNESCO's assistance to the Palestinian people falls into three categories:

UNESCO participation in the education of the children of Palestinian refugees

2. UNESCO's action in this area dates back to 1950 when the organization began to participate in the work done by UNRWA on behalf of the Palestinian refugees. That co-operation became more official in 1952, when UNESCO and UNRWA signed an agreement regulating the forms of UNESCO action and the conditions in which it should take place. Since that time, the organization's work on behalf of Palestinian refugees has consisted of:

(a) Supervision of and technical responsibility for the education programme for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan and in the occupied territories of the West Bank of the Jordan and the Gaza Strip. In 1977-1978, this programme will provide educational facilities for over 275,000 pupils in 577 schools, four teacher-training colleges, seven vocational and technical training centres and an education institute for in-service teacher-training. UNESCO will continue to provide the services of one director and 19 international specialists to the UNRWA/UNESCO Department of Education to examine prescribed text-books, to finance the purchase of material and equipment to help' improve the effectiveness of the education provided, to grant scholarships for further study to senior local staff and a number of Palestinian students and, if the situation continues to warrant it, to organize and supervise, as it has done in previous years, the Egyptian secondary school-leaving certificate examinations in the Gaza Strip; the cost of these measures for 1977-1978 is estimated at $2,624,000.

(b) Contributing to the operation of the UNRWA/UNESCO Institute of Education which organizes in-service training programmes and courses for Palestinian teachers. The Institute, which operated initially with a contribution from the Swiss Government - replaced since 1972 by a contribution from UNDP - used to have its headquarters at Beirut. Owing to the events that took place in Lebanon in 1975 and 1976, the Institute is currently operating provisionally in Amman. UNESCO continues to be the executing agency for the Institute and UNDP's contribution to the Institute in 1977-1978 amounts to $1 million.

UNESCO action designed to ensure access by the populations of the occupied Arab territories to national and education culture

3. In resolution 10.1, adopted at its seventeenth session (Paris, 1972), the General Conference requested the Director-General to "assemble information by all available means at his disposal on the national education and the cultural life of the populations in the occupied Arab territories and to report to the General Conference at its eighteenth session".

4. Pursuant to this resolution and as a result of contacts which the Director-General had with the Governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic on the one hand, and with the Government of Israel on the other, as well I with the League of Arab States and the Arab Educational., Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and a number of non-governmental international organizations which seemed able to provide information on the subject, the Director-General appointed a mission headed by Mrs. M. P. Herzog, Director of the Human Rights co-ordination Unit, to visit the five countries in question and the occupied Arab territories in order to gather information regarding the educational institutions and cultural life in those territories.

5. The report of the mission was communicated to the General Conference at its eighteenth session (Paris, 1974) under the symbol 18 C/16.

6. In resolution 13-15 adopted at its eighteenth session, the General Conference:

Invited the Director-General to supervise the operation of educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories, and to co-operate with the Arab States concerned and with the Palestine Liberation Organization with a view to providing the populations in the occupied Arab territories with every means of enjoying their rights to education and culture so as to preserve their national identity;

Appealed to Israel to refrain from any act that has the effect of hindering the populations of the occupied Arab territories in the exercise of their rights to national education and cultural life, and invited it to allow the Director-General of UNESCO to carry out the task referred to in the foregoing paragraph.

7. In his report to the ninety-ninth session of the Executive Board (April-May 1976) (99 EX/50 and 99 EX/50 Addendum), the Director-General:

Informed the Board about the negotiations he had undertaken with the Governments concerned with a view to implementing resolution 18 C/13.1, and told the Board that he had not obtained from the Government of Israel the necessary facilities to send a mission to the occupied Arab territories to gather information on the state of education and cultural life in those territories;

Reported on the communications he had received from the four Governments directly involved, namely, those of Egypt, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Israel as well as from certain Governments of Arab States concerned about historic and religious monuments in the occupied territories, from the Palestine Liberation Organization, from the League of Arab States and from the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization.

8. The same report was also submitted to the General Conference at its nineteenth session (Nairobi, 1976). In resolution 19 C/15.1, adopted at that session, the General Conference:

Invited the Director-General to implement as soon as possible his decision to send a fact-finding mission to the Arab territories occupied by Israel;

Renewed its appeal to Israel to co-operate in normalizing the situation;

Invited the Director-General to follow and supervise the operation of educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories with a view to guaranteeing the populations of those territories their rights to education and cultural life in such a way as to preserve their national identity.

9. Israel having agreed in principle to accept the UNESCO mission, the Director-General proposed to send the mission to the occupied territories and the four countries concerned as soon as the situation in the Middle East would allow him to do so, in order that the mission might take place in the best possible conditions. The Director-General sent two missions, the first one to Israel and the occupied Arab territories in November 1977 and the second one to the Arab States concerned in February-March 1978.

Aid to the Palestinian people under resolutions 18 C/13-1 and 19 C/15-1 of

the General Conference of UNESCO

10. By means of funds which the Director-General was able to make available under the regular budget of UNESCO for 1975-1976 and 1977-1978, the following projects have been executed in co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):

(a) Grant of 18 scholarships to Palestinian students and specialists ($40,000);

(b) Aid for gathering, in European countries, documentation on the Palestinians (two consultants recruited). Cost of the project: $18,000;

(c) Collaboration between UNESCO, PLO and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in preparing a project concerning the establishment of an open university for the Palestinians. UNESCO provided $72,000 and the Arab Fund provided $408,000 for the execution of the preliminary study; financial aid amounting to $8,000 was granted to the PLO to organize a symposium on the Open University. The agreement between UNESCO, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Palestine Liberation Organization towards the preparation of a feasibility study for the establishment of a Palestinian open university was signed in November-December 1977;

(d) Grant to the Palestine Liberation Organization of financial aid amounting to $8,000 for the translation and publication of works relating to Palestinian literature.

Assistance to the Palestinian people under the regular programme, including the participation programme

11. The following activities have been undertaken:

(a) Allocation of seven new fellowships to Palestinian students ($39,5l0);

(b) Financial assistance towards the completion of an exhaustive bibliography relating to the history of Palestine ($15,000);

(c) Financial assistance to the General Union of Palestinian Women for the equipment and development of an orphanage ($26,000);

(d) Preparation of a meeting next September on the Palestine cultural heritage ($15,000).


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