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        United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

15 August 2001


Working Party on the Medium-term Plan
and the Programme Budget
Thirty-eighth session
Geneva, 17-21 September 2001
Item 3 of the provisional agenda


Report by the Secretary-General of UNCTAD

Annex 1: Review of activities undertaken in 2000


1. This annex provides a description of the main technical cooperation projects and programmes undertaken by UNCTAD in 2000. It is presented, as far as possible, in accordance with the structure of the divisions/branches of the secretariat responsible for backstopping the projects or programmes concerned. A list of individual projects implemented by each organizational unit follows the corresponding narrative.


A. Division on Globalization and Development Strategies


3. Special programmes

(a) UNCTAD's assistance to the Palestinian people

22. Development context: Since the establishment in 1994 of the Palestinian Authority (PA), it has been engaged in a sustained programme of economic reconstruction and development, with wide international involvement. UNCTAD's assistance to the Palestinian people has accordingly focused on operational activities in support of PA efforts to elaborate trade policy, enhance trade facilitation, enable enterprise activity and investment and improve the management of financial resources for development.

23. Objectives: In line with the provisions of the United Nations Medium-term Plan for 1998-2001, UNCTAD aims to continue its work, in accordance with its mandate, in assisting the Palestinian people to develop capacities for effective policy-making and management. UNCTAD's programme of technical cooperation in this area aims to provide concrete assistance with a view to bolstering Palestinian public institutional development and helping to create an enabling environment for the private sector. Working in close cooperation and co-ordination with other concerned international agencies, the secretariat has responded to PA requests for assistance since 1995 in 15 project areas, through deploying streamlined and selective operational activities, especially advisory and consultancy services, group training and technical support.

24. Output: The first three quarters of 2000 witnessed further progress in projects already commenced, new advisory missions and project preparation in other areas and identification of new extra-budgetary resources to implement some pending project proposals. However, deterioration in field conditions since October 2000 forced a suspension of ongoing or planned technical assistance activities in the following areas:

  • Training programme in international commercial diplomacy: PHASE II ;
  • Support of small and medium-size enterprise development (EMPRETEC);
  • Strengthening trade efficiency: Trade Point Palestine Ramallah/Gaza;
  • Guidelines for sustainable development of the Palestinian economy;
  • Strengthening technical capacities in customs administration - PHASE I;
  • Strengthening capacities in debt monitoring and financial analysis (DMFAS).

    25. Proposed project activities, pending owing to lack of resources, include: Promoting subregional cooperation of PA with Egypt and Jordan: PHASE 2; managerial and institutional capacities for Gaza Seaport; strengthening capacities of the domestic insurance sector; international trade in strategic food commodities.

    26. Meanwhile, in response to a request by the PA Minister of Economy and Trade, the secretariat initiated a joint effort with the UNCTAD/WTO International Trade Centre (ITC) to respond to urgent technical assistance needs posed by the economic crisis since October 2000. An appeal was launched to a number of bilateral and multilateral donors to contribute to implementation of a package of urgent UNCTAD/ITC technical assistance, to enhance Palestinian regional integration and cooperation and assist the Palestinian external trade sector in addressing new policy challenges.

    27. Results: Paragraph 167 of the Bangkok Plan of Action affirms that the continuation of the assistance that the UNCTAD secretariat provides to the Palestinian people is welcome, and should be intensified. While the secretariat was poised in mid-2000 to commence implementation of three major new development projects, this intensified assistance was abruptly suspended, owing to the deterioration in the field situation. While the situation at the end of 2000 rendered the provision of technical assistance more complicated and enforced a more prudent pace, modalities were identified to permit limited resumption of work in several project areas as of early 2001. Completion in 1999 of four technical assistance projects led to follow-on activities, funding pledged for project initiation and new requests for technical assistance by the PA. This reconfirms the relevance of UNCTAD's technical assistance.


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