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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
28 September 2004
United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Hundred and seventieth Session
28 September 2004
Items 3.1, 3.2 and 4.1 of the provisional agenda
DIRECTOR-GENERAL’S INTRODUCTION TO
THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
I. MAIN ITEMS ON THE AGENDA OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Progress towards a consolidated action for reconstruction in conflict-affected countries
14. Thanks to the constructive spirit of the debates held during the 32nd session of the General Conference and the 169th session of the Executive Board, and despite the evolution of the situation on the ground, UNESCO has been able to strengthen its action in the region. The sixth meeting of the Joint UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Committee took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 15 and 16 July. The Palestinian delegation to the meeting was headed by the Minister of Culture, who was accompanied by senior representatives from a range of Palestinian Authority ministries of relevance to UNESCO fields of competence. In a joint communiqué, the committee signalled its agreement upon the UNESCO Programme of Assistance for Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2004-2007), which contains a comprehensive strategy and a concrete plan of action in key areas of UNESCO’s competence, including several flagship projects. Among these key areas are education and higher education, safeguarding cultural heritage, promoting living cultures, media development, women’s empowerment, emergency assistance and longer-term institutional and human capacity-building. A donor’s conference is under preparation, to be held before the next session of the Executive Board.
15. In accordance with 169 EX/Decision 3.7.1, new steps have been taken with regard to the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem. While the mission report on the state of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls has been finalized by the team of experts who carried out the mission in March, the Director-General has selected the list of experts who will compose the committee entrusted with proposing, on a scientific and technical basis, a Plan of Action for the safeguarding of this cultural heritage. Similarly, action was taken for the establishment of an archeological training centre at Al-Quds University and of a centre for the restoration of Al-Aqsa manuscripts.