Question of Palestine home
25 October 1993
Agenda item 27
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE LEAGUE OF
Report of the Secretary-General
GENERAL MEETING ON COOPERATION BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF
THE SECRETARIATS OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM AND THE
GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES AND ITS
1. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 47/12 of 29 October 1992, a general meeting on cooperation between the representatives of the secretariats of the United Nations system and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS) and its specialized organizations was held at Geneva on 30 and 31 August 1993 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the first general meeting of cooperation between the two organizations. It was preceded by a meeting of experts on 26 and 27 August 1993.
Background of cooperation
2. Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States has existed since 1 November 1950 when the General Assembly, in its resolution 477 (V), requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to invite the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to attend sessions of the Assembly as an observer.
3. Furthermore, an exchange of letters between the United Nations Secretariat and the secretariat of the League of Arab States in December 1960 resulted in an agreement on a memorandum setting out guidelines for cooperation in the following fields: mutual consultations; joint action; exchange of information and documentation; representation; and liaison.
4. Following the agreement in 1960, the Secretary-General of LAS instituted a machinery to ensure liaison between the two organizations for the implementation of agreed plans of cooperation under the supervision and coordination of the Political Department of the League, with the participation of other departments and specialized organizations concerned.
5. The present cooperation between the United Nations and LAS was instituted by General Assembly resolution 36/24 of 9 November 1981 which,
, reaffirmed its resolution 477 (V) and decided to invite LAS to participate in the sessions and the work of the Assembly and of its subsidiary organs as an observer; recognized the importance of continued close association by the United Nations and the specialized agencies, where appropriate, with the efforts of the League in order to promote social and economic development and to advance intra-Arab as well as international cooperation in that vital field; and requested the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to strengthen cooperation at the political, economic, cultural and administrative levels between the United Nations and LAS.
6. The first meeting between representatives of organizations of the United Nations system and those of the General Secretariat of LAS and its specialized organizations, held at Tunis from 28 June to 1 July 1983, was endorsed by General Assembly resolution 37/17 of 16 November 1982. The Tunis meeting set forth the basic strategy for cooperation between the two organizations by adopting a large number of proposals and recommendations which were both bilateral and multilateral in nature. Two more general meetings were held at Geneva in 1988 and 1990 to review the progress of their cooperation and to augment follow-up action. The 1990 meeting decided to establish six sectoral areas for cooperation between the two organizations: international peace and security; food and agriculture; labour, trade, industry and environment; social affairs; education, science, culture and information; and communications.
7. There were also sectoral meetings which focused on priority areas of cooperation.
8. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 43/3 of 17 October 1988, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of LAS signed a new agreement of cooperation between the two organizations on 6 October 1989. The agreement came into force upon its signature. The agreement provides for the two organizations to strive for active cooperation in their respective programmes on matters of common interest. The provision on cooperation includes consultations, exchange of information, mutual representation, liaison and joint programmes.
9. In addition to the agreement of cooperation between the United Nations and LAS, a number of agreements on cooperation were entered into between the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations. Such agreements have been concluded with the following United Nations organizations and specialized agencies: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1957, 1961 and 1963; the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1958 and 1976; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1959, 1972, 1974 and 1981; the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in 1960, 1974 and 1985; the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1961; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1971; the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1972, 1978 and 1982; the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in 1974; the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1974; the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1976 and 1984; the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 1977 and 1980; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1979 and 1980; the International Trade Centre (ITC)-UNCTAD/General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1980; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 1980 and 1981; and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1981.
10. The Secretary-General of LAS attended the General Assembly sessions and held discussions with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
11. Consultations between the two organizations have been facilitated by the establishment of an office in New York in 1948 and at Geneva in 1975, and the appointment of observers at the level of Ambassador. The appointment of Permanent Observers has allowed the League to participate actively in major meetings of the General Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations bodies. In addition, LAS and its specialized organizations have been represented regularly at other meetings of organizations and agencies of the United Nations system which, in turn, have participated in meetings organized by the League and its specialized organizations.
II. PREPARATORY ARRANGEMENTS
12. Following the adoption of General Assembly resolution 47/12, arrangements were made within the United Nations system for the text of the resolution to be brought to the attention of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system which had been asked to provide information on the present level of cooperation with LAS and to suggest ways and means to further strengthen and expand cooperation between the two organizations. In order to coordinate their efforts, LAS arranged for the relevant departments of the League and its specialized organizations to refer to resolution 47/12 in reporting on the various aspects of cooperation concerning them, including proposals for enhancing cooperation.
13. The substantive preparations for the general meeting were initiated by the coordinating secretariats of the two organizations. Several meetings were held between representatives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of LAS, followed by consultations with representatives of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system, to finalize arrangements for the organization, the agenda, programme of work and documentation of the general meeting.
14. Following further consultations between the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of LAS, it was agreed that the tenth anniversary meeting would be held at the level of Under-Secretaries-General and Executive Heads of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and of the League of Arab States. The meeting would take place at the Palais des Nations at Geneva on 30 and 31 August 1993, to be preceded by a meeting of experts on 26 and 27 August, in order to consider the agenda items as well as to finalize the report to be adopted by the anniversary meeting.
III. ORGANIZATION OF WORK
15. As agreed upon the general meeting in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the first general meeting of cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States was held at Geneva on 30 and 31 August 1993. It was preceded by a meeting of experts on 26 and 27 August.
16. The meeting had before it the following working papers compiled by the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, based on the contributions presented by the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system as well as by the General Secretariat of LAS and its specialized organizations:
(a) Background note and working papers on existing cooperation, submitted by the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations;
(b) Proposals to strengthening and expanding cooperation, submitted by the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations;
(c) Working paper on "An Agenda for Peace" prepared by the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations and by the Department of International Political Affairs, League of Arab States.
17. The meetings were presided over jointly by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations, representing the Secretary-General of the Organization, and the Under-Secretary-General for International Political Affairs of the League of Arab States, representing the Secretary-General of LAS.
18. All meetings were held in plenary session. The main substantive items on the agenda were considered by the meeting of experts. Proposals emanating from the discussions as well as those contained in the working paper were referred to an ad hoc working group composed of representatives of the departments, organizations and agencies concerned, with a view to formulating workable recommendations to be incorporated in the report.
19. The agenda of the meeting which was adopted at the opening of the session consisted of the following items:
(a) Formal opening of the meeting
(i) Statement by the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations;
(ii) Statement by the representative of the Secretary-General of LAS
(b) Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
(c) Statements by the heads of organizations and agencies
(d) Review and appraisal of the progress of cooperation during the last 10 years
(e) Consideration of proposals to further strengthen and expand cooperation for the next decade
(f) Development of mechanisms for enhancing cooperation
(g) Consideration of proposals contained in the Secretary-General's report on An Agenda for Peace, particularly those aspects relating to regional arrangements and organizations
(h) Adoption of the report
(i) Other matters
(j) Closing of the meeting.
20. Representatives of the following departments of the United Nations and other organizations and agencies of the United Nations system participated in the meeting: Department of Political Affairs; Department for Development Support and Management Services; Department of Humanitarian Affairs; United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat); Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); International Labour Organization (ILO); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); World Health Organization (WHO); International Monetary Fund (IMF); International Telecommunication Union (ITU); World Meteorological Organization (WMO); and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
21. Representatives of the following departments and offices of the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations and other Arab organizations participated in the meeting: Department of International Political Affairs; Department of Social Affairs; Economic Department; General Secretariat of the League of Arab States; Office of the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations in Geneva; Health and Environment Service; Arab Interior Ministers Council; Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO); Arab Labour Organization (ALO); Arab Monetary Fund (AMF); Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; International Fund for Agricultural Development; Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD); Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO); Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC); Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID); Arab Maritime Transport Academy (AMTA); Arab Centre for the Study of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD); and Arab Organization for Atomic Energy.
IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
22. In the course of their deliberations, the representatives of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and of LAS and its specialized organizations undertook critical review and appraisal of the progress of cooperation during the last 10 years. They shared the view that the United Nations and LAS are important partners in formulating and implementing projects and activities for the promotion of peace and security and economic development in the Arab countries. Mindful of the need to further consolidate the existing cooperation between the United Nations and LAS and to strengthen and expand it during the next decade in the political, economic, social, humanitarian, cultural and administrative areas, as called for by General Assembly resolution 47/12, the meeting agreed on the following:
(a) The United Nations and LAS should be guided by the priority areas established by the meeting, as a basis for cooperation between the two systems, with a view to developing a concerted approach to the formulation of joint projects and programmes;
(b) Lead agencies and focal points in each priority area have to be designated for follow-up action with respect to conclusions and recommendations agreed upon by the meetings of the two organizations and for the purpose of sectoral coordination;
(c) Specialized organizations of LAS will be used as sources of expertise and as executing agencies in their field of specialization for the implementation of projects and programmes on cooperation proposed by the United Nations specialized agencies for the Arab countries at the regional and country levels. Where activities fall within the purview of more than one United Nations or LAS organization, a special working group of such organizations should be formed for this purpose;
(d) All United Nations agencies concerned that have not yet signed cooperation agreements with LAS should be encouraged to do so;
(e) LAS should explore possibilities of having United Nations agencies based in Cairo accredited as liaison offices to the LAS General Secretariat in order to strengthen cooperation with the organizations and agencies concerned;
(f) ECA and ESCWA are, in effect, the regional economic commissions of the Arab countries. LAS should actively involve ECA and ESCWA in the work of its technical commissions and utilize to the fullest the expertise available at ECA and ESCWA;
(g) The Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, for its part, is to give UNDP, and ECA and ESCWA, as the regional commissions, the more active role in the cooperation between the two organizations;
(h) LAS should encourage exchange of visits between the headquarters staff of lead agencies within the United Nations system and LAS counterparts for follow-up action relating to the implementation of recommendations;
(i) With regard to socio-economic projects envisaged by LAS, the League should explore with the United Nations organizations and agencies concerned the possibility of seconding Arab experts to assist LAS in the preparation of studies and papers;
(j) LAS could also explore the possibility of having technical staff seconded to United Nations agencies concerned for training and orientation;
(k) The Department of Political Affairs is in a position to arrange for LAS senior staff visiting United Nations Headquarters to meet with senior officials from the United Nations Secretariat, as well as from UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and ECA. Senior staff from LAS should also maintain regular contacts with organizations and agencies concerned in Geneva, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
23. The meeting agreed to the establishment of standing sectoral committees representing LAS and its specialized organizations and the United Nations and its specialized agencies, which will meet on an annual basis to review and monitor the implementation of mutual agreements and the progress of work of joint activities and to identify new areas of cooperation.
24. The meeting, having recognized the importance of continued cooperation between the two organizations in order to promote social and economic development in the Arab region and to cultivate regional understanding aimed at securing the maintenance of peace, agreed on the following.
International peace and security
25. The meeting expressed support for the establishment of international peace and security, with a view to ensuring progress for all peoples and countries of the world. It reiterated calls for full compliance with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as well as with the Organization's resolutions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security.
26. The meeting expressed the hope that this cooperation would contribute in every way possible towards the implementation of the United Nations resolutions concerning the Palestinian question and the Middle East problem, and of Security Council resolution 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 with respect to southern Lebanon.
27. In addition, the League of Arab States affirms its commitment to support the United Nations in fulfilling its duties under the Charter with regard to ensuring peace and security and to promoting freedom, sovereignty, progress and prosperity for all peoples.
Agenda for Peace
28. The meeting considered the item on the Secretary-General's report, "An Agenda for Peace", in particular the chapter concerning cooperation with regional arrangements and organizations. After an exchange of views, the meeting concluded that the Agenda for Peace contained many positive elements. It also took note of the fact that both the Security Council and the General Assembly are considering proposals for adoption in implementation of the Agenda for Peace. In the view of LAS, the United Nations must uphold the sanctity of the Charter of the United Nations, avoid double standards and pursue a balanced position based on the principle of justice in order to maintain its universal role of neutrality. LAS is waiting for the comments of its States members to formulate its position on the Agenda for Peace.
29. The League of Arab States believes that disarmament in general and regional disarmament in particular, which will free much needed human and material resources for development, are of fundamental importance for the achievement of international peace and security.
30. The meeting believed that a comprehensive approach to disarmament that would cover all States as well as weapons of mass destruction, was the only feasible and effective means to achieving such an important goal. The meeting also drew attention to the relevant General Assembly resolution which called for making the Middle East a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction without exception, including nuclear weapons.
31. The Arab States affirm their readiness to associate themselves with all proposals relating to disarmament that are conducive to the achievement of quantitative and qualitative parity in terms of military capability among the States of the region, applying one standard to all of them. They also affirm their readiness, in accordance with resolutions 5232 and 5285 of the LAS Council, to cooperate on the basis of the Convention on the Prohibition on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, for the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction, provided that Israel responds to international requests to ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in accordance with Security Council resolution 487 (1981) of 19 June 1981, since Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and its refusal to accept supervision is a stumbling block to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction from the region and to the establishment of peace and security therein.
Racial discrimination and human rights
32. The League of Arab States considers that the role of the United Nations in countering racial discrimination everywhere should be strengthened. The League reiterated support for the Organization's ongoing efforts for the total elimination of racial discrimination. LAS fully supports the efforts of the United Nations towards the promotion of human rights in the world. It called upon all parties concerned to cooperate in the process leading to a democratic, non-racial South Africa as called for by relevant United Nations resolutions.
Question of Palestine and the Middle East problem
33. The Palestinian question is at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict and ranks first among the concerns of the League of Arab States. LAS has called on the international community and, in particular, on the States that are permanent members of the Security Council, to apply the norms of the Charter of the United Nations with a view to implementing the resolutions embodying international legitimacy and the commitment of all States, without exception, to the implementation of United Nations resolutions. This will contribute to the success of the peace talks that are being conducted in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 and will lead to the establishment of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
34. The meeting considered that international efforts should be stepped up to implement Security Council resolution 425 (1978), which calls for a withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon. This would contribute to the promotion of the ongoing peace efforts.
Economic, financial and technical cooperation for development
35. The last decade has witnessed a growing cooperation between LAS and the United Nations in various fields of activities that have contributed to economic and social development in the Arab region, as well as to environmental protection. The activities and programmes carried out within the framework of this cooperation are outlined in the annual reports of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
36. Although considerable activities have been undertaken jointly by the United Nations system and LAS and its specialized organizations, there is need and certainly room for enhancing cooperation between the two organizations. The meeting felt that cooperation would be strengthened if the two organizations could address the following factors which have hindered the progress of cooperation:
(a) Lack of adequate financial resources;
(b) Absence of a well-defined mechanism for the exercise and monitoring of cooperation;
(c) Lengthy processing of project requests;
(d) Following different sets of priorities;
(e) Absence of focal points, in many cases, for coordinating and following up joint activities.
37. With regard to future cooperation between the United Nations and LAS, it is felt that regular consultations on issues of concern to the Arab region should be systematized. LAS and its specialized organizations should be involved, to the extent possible, in the preparation of regional reports for various regional and international development conferences.
38. The highest priorities should be given to the following issues:
(a) Human development;
(b) Transfer and acquisition of appropriate technology;
(c) Food security and nutrition;
(d) Enhanced regional and interregional cooperation;
(e) Economic restructuring and investment promotion;
(f) Trade, transport and communications;
(g) Sustainable development, including environmental protection, and conservation of natural resources;
(h) Development and conservation of water resources;
(i) Direct assistance to the Arab least developed countries and the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories;
(j) Information management.
39. The attainment of such priorities will lead to a long-term programme of technical assistance by the United Nations system on a regional level whereby LAS and its specialized organizations can be active partners from the initial stage of programme identification and formulation, to the final stage of implementation and follow-up.
40. Cooperation between the United Nations system and the LAS system should serve as a framework to mobilize efforts and resources of all organizations concerned to develop policies, programmes and projects in the economic, financial and technical cooperation activities for the development of the Arab region.
UNDP and LAS
41. It is recommended that LAS and Arab specialized organizations should participate in Steering Committee meetings on regional projects according to their sectoral specialization, regardless of whether or not the United Nations and LAS co-fund the projects. By participating in the Steering Committees, LAS and/or Arab specialized organizations are likely to reflect the Arab development perspective and make technical contributions based on their knowledge of the region and the sectors which the projects support.
42. In view of the positive outcome of the last decade of cooperation between UNIDO and AIDMO, more efforts should be made towards building on the successful experiences as well as working out innovative programmes and mechanisms with a view to responding to the needs of industrial development in the Arab region.
43. In addition to the priority areas which have been identified by UNIDO and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations under the Special Programme for Industrial Development in the Arab Countries, particular emphasis must be placed on the following matters:
(a) Attainment of sustainable industrial development through the protection of environment, more specifically, transfer of clean-air technology, waste management, recycling, management and training, as well as the implementation of the Montreal protocol, and utilization of energy and energy conservation, use of new and renewable sources of energy in non-oil producing countries;
(b) Promotion of investment activities through closer cooperation between the Arab investors and Arab-foreign joint investment activities;
(c) Examination and assessment of the roles of private and public sectors with the aim of reforming structures, attaining maximum efficiency and securing the widest possible participation of all agencies in economic activities;
(d) Development of a programme with the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in the field of agro-industries, aimed at replacing drug production by other crops on the basis of techno-economic assessment and prevailing conditions involving training, selection of equipment and adequate technologies.
44. More attention should be given to the organizational arrangements under the Special Programme (under the auspices of UNIDO), with a view to involving the active participation of AIDMO in the planning and financing of the regional industrial activities. This may require mobilization of Arab and international resources for furthering the process of cooperation between UNIDO and LAS to implement the policies on joint industrial activities in the Arab countries, new modalities of financing the projects have to be worked out, including cost-sharing and trust fund arrangements; UNIDO has had experience in this area.
45. UNIDO, ESCWA, LAS and AIDMO are invited to increase allocations for the Special Programme for Industrial Development in the Arab countries.
46. UNIDO and ECA are requested to cooperate with AIDMO in the planning and implementation of industrial development programmes with regard to the Arab countries in Africa.
47. ECA is invited to join the collaborating organizations of the Special Programme and to contribute to its implementation.
48. UNIDO and ECA are invited to cooperate with ALO in the following spheres of common interest:
(a) Development of human resources, particularly in small-scale industries;
(b) Participation in meetings and seminars dealing with training of manpower;
(c) Exchange of publications and documents relating to human resources development.
Natural resources and environment
49. The United Nations and LAS exchanged information on studies, seminars and meetings concerning the environment or natural resources. The following were involved: the Department for Development Support and Management Services of the United Nations Secretariat, UNDP, UNEP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, WMO, IFAD, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment, AOAD, ACSAD, ALECSO, AAAID and OAPEC.
50. The United Nations agencies are requested to keep the Arab League informed about the programmes they operate in the Arab countries in the areas of environment and natural resources so as to enable the Arab organizations to study and determine the extent of their participation in those programmes.
51. In this area of cooperation, the following should be noted:
(a) Priority should be given to prevention of desertification, increase in planted areas, reduction and treatment of industrial waste, propagation of environmental awareness and education. This will involve UNDP, UNEP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, WMO, IFAD, ACSAD, AOAD, ALECSO, and AAAID;
(b) The Joint Committee on Environment and Development in the Arab region will undertake two major activities:
(i) The establishment of an environmental information network;
(ii) The holding of a Pan-Arab Ministerial Conference on sustainable agricultural and rural development in the Arab region with the participation of the League of Arab States and the United Nations agencies concerned as decided by the Joint Committee on Environment and Development;
(c) OAPEC will invite, on behalf of LAS and other co-sponsoring organizations, relevant United Nations organizations such as the Department of Development Support and Management Services of the United Nations Secretariat, UNCTAD, UNDP, ECA, ESCWA, UNIDO, and other agencies to attend the Fifth Arab Energy Conference to be held at Cairo in May 1994.
Food and agriculture
52. The meeting agreed that cooperation between the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations concerning the promotion of food and agriculture in the Arab countries should continue to be strengthened along the following lines:
(a) Annual consultative meetings between FAO, AOAD and ACSAD should be held before setting annual programmes and activities, with a view to promoting and enhancing cooperation, avoiding duplication of activities and ensuring harmonious implementation of programmes;
(b) FAO, AOAD and ACSAD are encouraged to participate in the implementation of joint activities and field missions as co-partners;
(c) AOAD, ACSAD and AAAID are urged to participate regularly in the Regional Technical Commissions of FAO, such as the Regional Commission on Agriculture, the Regional Economic and Social Policy Commission, the Regional London Water Commission;
(d) LAS, AOAD and ACSAD are urged to actively participate in the existing regional task forces established by FAO as forums for regional cooperation;
(e) Arab specialized organizations should be used in the field of agriculture as executing agencies of UNDP-funded projects in the Arab region;
(f) AAAID and IFAD are willing to review proposals that are compatible with their mandate and which are specifically aimed at food production, alleviation of rural poverty, protection of the environment and enhancement of the social and economic status of rural women;
(g) UNEP is urged to strengthen its regional office in Cairo to enhance cooperation with LAS in the field of environment;
(h) The Economic Commission for Africa, which serves nine Arab States and which is similar to ESCWA, should be invited to participate in the joint meetings of the United Nations and LAS in the future;
(i) AOAD and FAO have already identified the following projects for joint implementation:
(i) National Resources Inventory through standardized geo-referenced database for sustainable agricultural development, planning and environmental construction;
(ii) Green belt projects for desertification control in Arab countries;
(j) AOAD will contribute to, and participate in, preparations for a policy framework and regional programme of action for women in the region developed by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East;
(k) AOAD and ITC identified project Regional Market News Service for Arab States for joint implementation;
(l) AOAD proposes the implementation of the following projects jointly with United Nations agencies:
(i) Policies for exploiting the potential of barley production, utilization and trade in the Middle East and North Africa;
(ii) Strengthening capacity of small farmers in the Arab region;
(iii) Development of fisheries resources;
(iv) Development of irrigated agricultural sector in the Arab region;
(v) Establishment of measures to curb loss in food and agricultural production;
(vi) Strengthening of agricultural institutions;
(vii) Transfer of technology in the field of agriculture;
(viii) Effect of economic adjustments on small farmers and rural poverty;
(ix) Development of storage technology (use of radiation);
(x) Utilization of agricultural by-products;
(xi) Protection of olive and citrus trees in the Arab region;
(m) ACSAD proposes cooperation with relevant organizations of the United Nations system in the formulation and implementation of the following activities of common interest to them:
United Nations organizations
Field of cooperation
Survey of regional water resources Department for Development
and coordination in the field of Support and Management Services
water resources of the United Nations
Secretariat, UNDP, ECA, ESCWA,
Desertification and drought control, UNDP, UNEP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO,
expansion of green belts in the Arab WMO
States, and management and
reclamation of degraded land
Land reclamation and water resources UNDP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, WMO,
Applied research programmes and UNDP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, WMO,
development of regional agricultural IFAD
systems in arid regions and dry lands
Organization and holding of seminars UNDP, FAO, WMO, WIPO, UNIDO
and conferences and training courses
in areas of common interest
Environmental protection, particularly UNDP, UNEP, ECA, ESCWA, FAO,
in arid and semi-arid areas WMO, UNIDO, World Conservation Union (IUCN)
Support and follow-up on the FAO, IFAD
implementation of programmes for the
study of camels
Development of small ruminants FAO
Support for the Arab water security UNDP, FAO, UNESCO, WMO, UNIDO
Support and funding for the aridity UNDP, WMO, UNIDO
monitoring programme and preparation
of a strategy for coping with the
programme in the Arab world
Protection and development of UNDP, FAO, IFAD
marginal pastoral areas in the Arab
Protection of Arab biological UNDP, FAO, UNIDO, IUCN,
diversity and use of same in the International Board for Plant
development and protection of Arab Genetic Resources (IBPGR)
Collection, preservation and FAO, IBPGR
evaluation of plant genetic resources
in the Arab world and use of those
resources for the development of
Propagation and dissemination of UNDP, FAO
improved strains of wheat and barley
which are resistant to drought and
salinity in the Arab world
Transport and communications
Arab Maritime Transport Academy
53. It is to be noted that most of the recommendations adopted by the first general meeting of cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, held at Tunis in 1983, particularly those relating to maritime education and training, have been followed up over the past years. However, there remains a need for the International Maritime Organization and for other organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, such as UNDP, UNCTAD and ILO, to supply essential advice, expertise and financial support in order to provide assistance in the following fields, while using the expertise available to the Arab Maritime Transport Academy (AMTA):
(a) Technical assistance in the use and formulation of national maritime legislation;
(b) Completion of the establishment of national administrations for maritime safety in the Arab countries;
(c) Formulation of national and regional programmes and arrangements relating to the prevention of pollution;
(d) Continued preparation and implementation of national and regional programmes for the training of personnel in maritime transport operations and other maritime activities;
(e) Translation into Arabic of the International Maritime Organization model training programme;
(f) Expanded use of the capacities of the International Maritime Academy in the training of high-level staff in maritime transport operations and activities.
54. For the attainment of the aforementioned objectives, there is need to strengthen cooperation between LAS and the various United Nations specialized agencies, particularly IMO. Such a measure may take the following forms:
(a) Conclusion of a cooperation agreement with IMO;
(b) Designation of a permanent representative of the Arab Maritime Transport Academy to be stationed at IMO in London to coordinate cooperation activities between the Arab countries and IMO;
(c) Participation of each of the organizations in the meetings of the other;
(d) Exchange of information and documentation on all matters of common interest;
(e) Participation in the organization and sponsorship of study and training courses, particularly in the fields of safety and the prevention of pollution;
(f) Invitation to ILO, UNCTAD and UNDP to provide, within their respective fields of competence, the necessary expertise and financial support for training at the professional and administrative levels;
(g) Establishment of an international centre for the implementation of projects.
55. The achievements of AMTA on the international, regional and national levels require that it be supported at all levels to enable it to function as a major centre for all the cooperation procedures between the United Nations and LAS. AMTA should be entrusted with the development of advanced studies and the implementation of follow-up procedures.
Cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union
56. The meeting also invited the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the technical secretariat of LAS to continue cooperation in developing the telecommunication system in the Arab region, especially the MODARABTEL networks, and adopt the following mechanisms of cooperation and coordination in carrying out their activities:
(a) Reciprocal consultations on the preparation of their respective activity plans and projects;
(b) Organization, whenever possible, of joint regional seminars and training courses;
(c) Organization of coordination meetings every six months;
(d) Exchange of invitations to attend each other's meetings;
(e) Designation of a focal point for each side to facilitate direct and instant contact and coordination of work.
57. The United Nations and LAS and their specialized agencies and organizations, especially ICAO and the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, are encouraged to cooperate in the following areas:
(a) Development of air transport database for the Arab region;
(b) Training of civil aviation personnel;
(c) Development of regional technical cooperation projects in the civil aviation field;
(d) Joint action on the implementation of air navigation facilities and services;
(e) Exchange of information and documentation;
(f) Exchange of invitations to relevant meetings.
58. The United Nations and LAS and their specialized agencies and organizations especially the Universal Postal Union (UPU), are encouraged to cooperate in the following areas:
(a) Exchange of information and documentation;
(b) Technical assistance to the Arab Permanent Postal Committee;
(c) Exchange of information related to the development of postal sectors in the Arab region.
Trade and development
59. Economic cooperation in developing countries is of great importance in both the development of the Arab States and the health of the world economy. In view thereof, LAS and UNCTAD and the appropriate regional economic commissions should cooperate along the following lines:
(a) Extend assistance to the Arab integration process;
(b) Study and offer solutions to particular problems of integration, such as loss of fiscal revenues, rules of origin, problems of trade liberalization, and customs harmonization;
(c) Bring to the integration process the comparative experience of other developing regions and promote interregional cooperation;
(d) Extend technical assistance in the above areas with the help of funding organizations such as UNDP. All such projects would be elaborated and implemented in consultation with LAS.
60. Both the United Nations and LAS, with their specialized agencies and organizations, particularly UNCTAD, UNDP, ECA, ESCWA, GATT and ITC are encouraged to continue cooperation especially in the following areas:
(a) Building of an Arab trade information network to be brought into operation at the regional level among the Arab States;
(b) Development of human resources in the field of trade, and organization of training courses;
(c) Provision of technical assistance;
(d) Implementation of trade and trade policies, in particular reform of trade policies, and promotion of exports and multilateral trade negotiations;
(e) Support for national and regional trade financing;
(f) Increase of assistance to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories for economic development and restructuring and to formulate more projects in view of the study to be undertaken by UNCTAD.
61. The meeting expressed appreciation for the activities undertaken by the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in various fields of cooperation.
Projects dealing with water deficiency
62. The Arab world falls in a region characterized by its water deficiency. Projects dealing with the study and evaluation of underground water, as for example, quantity, age, rechargeability, etc., using nuclear techniques, are vital to the region. IAEA has been working with some of the Arab countries along these lines. It is recommended, however, that these activities should be intensified through closer cooperation between IAEA and AAEA.
63. An activity which has to be developed and sustained in the next 10 years is the utilization of desalination-using small- and medium-sized reactors as a means of securing potable water in amounts sufficient for public use. The meeting expressed appreciation for the combined role of IAEA and AAEA in this field of activity.
Projects dealing with power deficiency
64. Many of the Arab countries suffer from poor energy resources. Generation of electric power by the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) can be one viable means of overcoming the energy deficiency. Work along these lines could be introduced and maintained under IAEA sponsorship and through a more active cooperation between IAEA and AAEA.
Projects dealing with improving plant and animal production
65. The meeting strongly requested that:
(a) Regional cooperation in developing mutations, soil fertility, animal productivity and other similar fields be implemented further and maintained on a regional level;
(b) IAEA and AAEA cooperate in operating an environmental radioactivity-monitoring network to be attached at a later stage to the global environmental radioactivity-monitoring network;
(c) The two organizations cooperate in training and manpower development in the different fields of peaceful applications of atomic energy.
66. Both the United Nations and LAS, with their specialized agencies and organizations, especially UNCTAD, UNDP, ECA, ESCWA, World Bank, IMF, ITC, AMF, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Investment Guaranty Cooperation, are encouraged to cooperate in the following areas:
(a) Deployment of sustained efforts to make use, whenever possible, of the technical and financial resources of regional and international institutions in implementing the work programmes of Arab financial institutions, with a view to securing the best international services within the framework of the programme, and to expanding and developing their activities;
(b) Development of regional capital markets and institutions;
(c) Consultations in the field of economic reforms and adjustment;
(d) Support for joint investments, especially investments that would enable the flow of technology to the region and the development of regional technological capacities;
(e) Support for monetary cooperation, including regional clearing and payment arrangements;
(f) Provision of technical assistance and training;
(g) Organization of seminars.
67. Cooperation between LAS and the United Nations in this area, which has been sustained by successes already achieved, needs to be further strengthened. In 1982, a Population Research Unit (PRU) within the framework of LAS was set up, with the support of UNFPA. The second stage of PRU activities, begun in 1992, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1996. PRU is undertaking an in-depth analysis of the output of the Pan-Arab Project for Child Development (PAPCHILD), a joint project of the United Nations and LAS dealing with maternal and child health. It is also doing a series of studies on Arab immigration and is evaluating the participation of women in economic activities. PRU is involved in several issues which will require enhanced United Nations cooperation, namely:
(a) The expansion of the activities of PAPCHILD to include education as a basic variable in the development of the Arab child. This will allow PAPCHILD to reflect more adequately the different aspects of health which should go beyond measuring physical dimensions. Further, this will enable PAPCHILD to generate in a harmonious, rational and standardized fashion, the necessary data required for the evaluation of the proposed and existing indicators for monitoring the disparate goals identified by the "Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s", adopted at the World Summit for Children held in New York in 1990. PAPCHILD needs to be strengthened, its scope of activity expanded and its life-span extended.
(b) The protection of the economic, social, cultural and humanitarian conditions of Arab immigrants in host countries;
(c) The effects of policies governing structural adjustment programmes on population conditions in the Arab countries;
(d) Cooperation between LAS and UNFPA will be further enhanced in the area of population research. Results of the study will be given wider dissemination with a view to increasing the awareness of policy planners and makers and making them more sensitive to the importance of population issues within the context of the national, social and economic development planning. More specifically, the data obtained from PAPCHILD will be disseminated and used to improve the welfare of children and women. This will, in turn, result in lowering infant and maternal mortality rates as well as in improving information and services in the mother-child-health family planning sector.
68. This area of cooperation concerns the following partners: Department for Development Support and Management Services, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNESCO, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, ALECSO, LAS Secretariat General for Social Affairs and the Arab Gulf Programme for United National Development Organizations.
Child development: Child Care, Protection and Development
69. UNICEF views the League of Arab States as an important partner in the Grand Alliance for Children and reaffirms its commitment to cooperate with LAS in implementing the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the World Summit for Children and in advocating the ratification and application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the countries of the Arab nation.
70. Together with other agencies, the two organizations have worked closely over the last decade, particularly in the last five years, to promote the welfare and development of Arab children and women.
71. Both LAS and UNICEF are committed to cooperate with each other to achieve the goals stated in the Pan-Arab Plan for Child Care, Protection and Development adopted at the high-level Arab meeting for the Welfare, Protection and Development of Children, held at Tunis in November 1992, and to supporting the development and implementation of national plans of action in each country to achieve the decade's goals for children. The joint LAS/UNICEF Committee which meets twice a year, provides a forum for regular discussion of matters relating to cooperation between the two organizations. The two organizations will continue to jointly organize and participate in technical and high-level sectoral meetings on child and maternal welfare. Each has observer status on the other's relevant executive bodies.
72. As outlined below, the major goals, as well as the conceptual substance of the Pan-Arab Plan, follow closely those of the World Summit for Children. The Pan-Arab Plan is an important "umbrella" for introducing new initiatives and promising regional approaches, for mobilizing additional social and financial resources for Arab children, for realizing joint Arab actions, and is a vital framework for continuing advocacy for children and women.
73. LAS and UNICEF will work closely together to develop a fund-raising strategy for the child in the region, particularly to fund national programmes of action, and to promote the creation of an Arab Child Fund.
74. The permanent LAS/UNICEF Committee will continue to meet periodically with a view to agreeing on the following: joint provision of technical assistance, wherever such assistance is needed and requested, in connection with designing and implementing national programmes of action; review of periodic country reports to direct follow-up activities and enhance collaborative actions; sending of joint delegations to review implementation of the programmes of action to overcome obstacles, and to learn from country experiences with a view to strengthening organizational, administrative and executive capabilities at the national and local levels. The first meeting of the executive officials responsible for children in the Arab States will be convened towards the end of 1993. It will be held at the invitation of the LAS Secretariat and UNICEF, Middle East, North Africa Regional Office, with the participation of the Permanent Consultative Technical Committee on Children.
75. Within the framework of the Pan-Arab Plan for Child Care, Protection and Development, cooperation between LAS and UNICEF will centre on achieving the decade's goals specified in the Plan, the core goals of which are the following:
(a) Reduction, between 1990 and the year 2000, of infant and under-five child mortality rates by one third, or, to 50 and 70 per 1,000 live births, whichever is less;
(b) Reduction of maternal mortality rate by one half between 1990 and the year 2000;
(c) Reduction of severe and moderate malnutrition rates among children under-five by one half, between 1990 and the year 2000;
(d) Universal access to safe drinking water and to sanitary methods of excreta disposal;
(e) Universal completion of basic education by the year 2000;
(f) Elimination of adult illiteracy, with emphasis on female illiteracy, by the year 2000;
(g) Improved protection of children in especially difficult circumstances.
76. In the period 1993-1995, cooperation between UNICEF and LAS will focus on their efforts towards the achievement of the following goals by 1995:
(a) That 75 per cent of all pregnant women will receive at least two doses of tetanus toxoid and that 50 per cent of all girls will get five doses of the vaccine in order to prevent neonatal tetanus; efforts will also be directed towards the elimination of neonatal tetanus;
(b) That deaths caused by measles will be reduced by 95 per cent and measle cases by 90 per cent;
(c) That poliomyelitis will be eradicated in selected countries;
(d) That 80 per cent usage rate of oral rehydration therapy will be achieved;
(e) That the free distribution of breast-milk substitutes in the region will be halted by the end of 1993; that all major hospitals will be designated as "Baby Friendly" by 1995; that the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative will be carried out in all countries;
(f) That universal salt iodization will be realized to prevent the mental retardation and physical incapacity caused by deficiencies in this vital micronutrient, and that iodine-deficiency disorders will virtually be eliminated;
(g) That in primary education, gender disparities in enrolment will be reduced by one third (focus will be placed on increasing girls' enrolment and completion rates, and on reducing drop-outs);
(h) That the Convention on the Rights of the Child will obtain universal ratification;
(i) That access to safe drinking water sources will be increased by one third, and access to sanitary methods of excreta disposal, by 10 per cent.
77. LAS and UNICEF should give special priority to supporting the preparation, costing and financing, implementation, and monitoring of national plans of action, where appropriate.
78. Cooperation in this area will encompass support for national and regional strategy development with a view to achieving the above-mentioned goals. Particular attention will be given to the following: (a) those goals requiring intercountry cooperation as, for example, the establishment of subregional polio-free zones; (b) the most disadvantaged countries; and (c) countries where improvement in the situation of large child populations will have a major impact on the overall goal achievement rates of the Arab nation (e.g. Egypt, Morocco, the Sudan, Yemen). A UNICEF document on the strategies for female education which has been prepared by a regional consultative group, is to be published shortly.
79. To promote exchange of information and of contacts, experience, etc., UNICEF will cooperate with LAS and the Arab Council for Childhood Development on database development around the decade's goals. This activity will include joint use of the UNICEF regional DEEDS database and assessment of the feasibility of extending PAPCHILD Phase II to the education sector. It will also include electronic information processing and networking, for example, through CHILDNET and the development of indicators to assess progress towards achievement of the stated goals. UNICEF will produce supporting thematic kits on priority concerns of the Pan-Arab Plan.
80. Projects such as mobilization of partnerships, regional networks of professionals, institutions and organizations, and joint participation in technical meetings will build on ongoing activities aimed at achieving the above-mentioned goals.
81. Leading national and regional non-governmental organizations form the third and very important partner of LAS and UNICEF in cooperation activities aimed at implementing the Pan-Arab Plan. An non-governmental organization forum will be organized at Amman in December 1993 in collaboration with LAS to develop an action plan for promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child throughout the region. Collaboration with the Arab Scouts Organization on youth environmental awareness is already under way.
82. UNICEF and the Arab States Broadcasting Union will continue recently initiated cooperation to mobilize the media for child rights, welfare and development, to improve the educational quality of television, and to train producers, directors and writers.
83. Increasing attention will be given to the child in difficult circumstances, with particular reference to mediation for, and protection of, the child in conflict situations.
84. The enhancement of the status of women and women's equal access to education, training, credit and other extension services constitute a valuable contribution to a nation's social and economic development.
85. LAS sees in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women a future framework for world-wide cooperation. LAS efforts to promote it have led to the adoption of national strategies and plans of action for the implementation and follow-up of the Nairobi strategies.
86. LAS is also actively preparing for its participation in the World Conference on Women, to be held at Beijing in 1995, which will focus on women's achievements within the framework of equality, development and peace.
87. Cooperation between LAS and the United Nations in the area of women's development concerns the United Nations Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, Department for Development Support and Management Services, UNICEF, ECA, ESCWA, IFAD and the United Nations Fund for Women's Development.
88. The family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children from infancy to adolescence. The introduction of children to the culture, values and means of their society begins in the family.
89. LAS is currently actively engaged in the preparation of "1994: The Year of the Family" and the Convention on the Rights of the Family to be adopted by the World Conference on the Rights of the Family, in 1994.
90. By its resolution 47/85 of 16 December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue the preparation of a draft world youth programme of action to the year 2000 and beyond. By its resolution 1993/24 of 27 July 1993, the United Nations Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution concerning the creation of a working group for the purpose of refining the draft programme of action.
91. Having actively participated in 1983 in preparations for the International Youth Year, at the level of the Arab region, LAS would welcome an invitation to participate in the tenth anniversary celebration of International Youth Year in 1995 and to contribute to the elaboration of the draft world youth programme of action to the Year 2000 and beyond.
92. Since sports is one indicator of the health of the nations comprising the Arab States (about 42 per cent of the populations are under 20 years of age), LAS is particularly conscious of the importance of sports and is sensitive to its requirements and demands.
93. LAS has called for United Nations cooperation through its International Governmental Committee for Physical Education and Sports (IGCPES), with a view to elaborating a joint programme aimed at achieving the goals set forth in the IGCPES World Programme, at the level of the Arab region.
94. The commitment to mutual cooperation by LAS and the World Health Organization (WHO) dates back to 1961 when both organizations signed a convention to this effect. The past three decades have witnessed continued consultations and cooperation between LAS and WHO.
95. Since 1984 the collaboration between LAS and WHO has been guided by a set of recommendations and decisions defining the areas for their collaboration and joint action. These include information, education and communication for health, essential drugs and health legislation, and the Regional Arabic Programme covering health information, documentation, health literature, arabization of medical education, and standardization of medical terminology in Arabic. Technical support by WHO has also been sought in the development of an Arab strategy for health. Their establishment of joint committees, their mutual observer status representation in governing bodies, and the decision to have WHO/LAS collaboration permanently on the Agenda of the Executive Bureau of the Council of Arab Ministers of Health (CAMOH) have facilitated continuous policy and technical exchange between the two organizations, thus making possible regular monitoring and follow-up of their collaboration. In addition, coordination of, and complementarity with, the direct WHO country programmes in the Arab States have been ensured.
96. By virtue of the decentralized structure of the World Health Organization, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean which is based in Alexandria, conducts privileged high-level policy dialogues with the League of Arab States. This facilitates collaboration between the two organizations. Furthermore, WHO representatives and WHO country offices will be able to provide support for the implementation of planned collaboration between LAS and WHO at the country level.
97. The adoption and presentation to CAMOH of the final version of the Arab Strategy for Health Development, scheduled to take place in March 1994, will be the culminating point in LAS/WHO cooperation. The signing of the document for the multi-agency PAPCHILD marked a milestone in LAS/WHO relations. WHO is closely involved in the technical preparation and implementation of this project. In the field of blood transfusion services and in connection with the goal of attaining self-reliance in the supply of safe blood and blood products, a regional training centre was established at Amman, to assist in the training of staff working in blood transfusion services in the countries of the region.
98. Other areas of cooperation include the programme on acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), protection from radiation, formulation of a core list of essential drugs for Arab States, environmental health and occupational health and assurance of quality pharmaceutical services and products.
99. WHO works with a number of LAS organizations and divisions on health-related subjects. It cooperates with ALECSO on health education in schools, with ALO on the health of workers, and with a department of LAS on environmental hazards, water supply sanitation and waste management. Both WHO and LAS are seized with, and have joined efforts with regard to, the health situation in the Occupied Arab Territories.
100. Given the acuteness and urgency of present health needs in particular areas, LAS proposes starting up the implementation and execution of the protocol of cooperation to be elaborated with the WHO Regional Office within the framework of the "strategy adopted by WHO for the implementation of the global goal of health for all by the year 2000".
101. WHO will continue to take an active part in collaborating with the League of Arab States together with UNICEF and UNFPA, in the finalization of the proposal for the Arab Plan of Action for child survival protection and the development of health of children in the Arab world. Areas of common concern include the high rates of maternal mortality in some Arab countries, problems of drug abuse, and emergency preparedness and response. WHO will also continue to consolidate progress achieved in the arabization of medical education, in the Regional Arabic Programme and in the standardization of medical terminology in Arabic.
102. WHO and LAS will continue their close collaboration in monitoring the implementation of the Arab strategy for health development, and in strengthening and implementing the priority areas agreed upon in the Arab Strategy, especially in the AIDS prevention and control programmes, essential drugs, blood transfusion services, occupational health, protection from radiation and environmental health.
103. Pursuant to the long-standing cooperation between LAS and UNESCO and another partner, ALECSO, and in conformity with the agreements of cooperation between LAS-ALECSO and UNESCO, the following priorities have been identified for the next period. In addition, existing activities will continue to be carried out.
(i) Concentration on the priorities and programmes identified by the respective organizations;
(ii) Continuation of periodic consultations between LAS-ALECSO and UNESCO through established mechanisms;
(iii) Further development of the approach to coordinated action with the corresponding follow-up action and evaluation;
(iv) Further encouragement of periodic exchange of views and visits between the heads and the staff of organizations and headquarters involved and of regional and national representatives concerned;
(v) Exploration of the possibility of extended technical services without substantive cost to cooperating organizations;
(vi) Reinforcement of cooperation between the Arab specialized organizations (ALECSO) and UNESCO through joint implementation of projects;
(vii) Ensuring use of existing Arab expertise for the implementation of joint UNESCO/ALECSO activities inside or outside the region;
(viii) Cooperation between UNDP and UNICEF, on the one hand, and LAS and its specialized organizations, on the other, to achieve the goals adopted by the World Conference on Education for All held at Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990, and the education goals adopted at Tunis in November 1992, within the framework of the Pan-Arab Plan for Child Care, Protection and Development.
Priorities for cooperation and interaction
(i) Improvement of effectiveness of basic education/literacy/post literacy/adult education and non-formal education, which will continue to represent a high-priority area of cooperation between ALECSO and UNESCO;
(ii) Provision of vocational and technical education through training activities;
(iii) Advancement of women's education;
(iv) Provision of emergency assistance in education and education for special groups (technical and advisory services for the education of refugees and displaced persons).
104. The UNESCO Regional Office for Education in the Arab States will continue to coordinate the greater part of the above activities. Intensive participation by UNESCO major networks (UNITWIN, UNEVOC, etc.) is to be considered. Distance education would be considered as one of the major tools of education.
Science and environment
(i) Follow-up by LAS and UNESCO on recommendations on the Arab region by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(ii) Implementation of the Arab Strategy on Science and Technology Policies, including:
a. Promotion of computer networks and of microcomputer software;
b. Contribution to conserving and using biological diversity (water related issues, the Man and the Biosphere programme, etc.);
c. Participation in major UNESCO pilot activities for updating engineering education and programmes;
d. Translation into Arabic of fundamentals of science progress.
(i) Expansion of cooperation between LAS (ALECSO) and UNESCO within the framework of the World Decade for Cultural Development;
(ii) Participation in the UNESCO programmes for safeguarding traditional culture, including,
, recording, inventorying and revitalization of cultural traditions and skills;
(iii) Placing emphasis on the reading of promotion and book development.
Communication and exchange of information in this area
(i) Provision of Professional communication training;
(ii) Development of community media in rural and marginalized areas;
(iii) Increased participation in existing UNESCO informatics networks to obtain access to and exchange of information.
Issues for future cooperation between ILO, LAS and ALO
105. As the League of Arab States and its specialized agencies and ILO share a number of common interests and concerns, and given the requirements of the countries to sustain their development efforts, a programme of action between the two organizations is urgently required.
106. This programme should be a logical response to the needs that have been identified, particularly in the areas of human resources development, women and child welfare, migration and social protection of workers.
107. The programme should be elaborated by the specialized staff of the ILO, LAS and ALO, taking into consideration available resources within the two organizations, as well as other resources to be mobilized from external sources.
108. The joint programme will include the following features:
(a) Designing the data collection requirements and information systems;
(b) Studying the methodology for human resources development planning;
(c) Studying the possibilities of ensuring complementarity between human resource planning and development planning;
(d) Providing the necessary support to the design of employment, migration and vocational protection policies;
(e) Developing appropriate support to labour administration and workers education programmes;
(f) Providing support to translation (mainly into Arabic) of important methodological studies and documents.
109. The contents of the programme may include the following activities:
(a) Studying the structure and components of the labour force and the effectiveness of the labour market in the light of changing conditions and in the context of the new economic order;
(b) Analysing migration flow and labour mobility within the context of a broader Arab labour market;
(c) Studying the determinants and consequences of female participation in the labour force;
(d) Studying the role and status of women with a view to eliminating obstacles for the full participation of women and their integration into the development process;
(e) Studying the ways and means of eliminating child labour;
(f) Studying employment and unemployment problems, issues and prospects;
(g) Studying the implications of structural adjustment programmes on the population with special emphasis on the disadvantaged groups;
(h) Studying the structure and components of the informal sector and its contribution to the national economy;
(i) Designing and implementing appropriate technical cooperative projects in various areas, particularly those relating to Palestinian workers and employers;
(j) Providing continued support to the Regional Arab Programme for Labour Administration in its new phase of implementation and other institutions and programmes.
110. Mention should be made of the new Active Partnership Policy of ILO which defines future roles and modalities of ILO operations and its working relations with the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations.
111. The Active Partnership Policy is designed to bring the ILO closer to its constituents with a view to enabling the ILO to respond better to the needs of its social partners and to enhance the relevance of ILO activities. In line with this policy, ILO will strengthen its analytical capacity to diagnose problems and propose policy advice and solutions; make more effective use of its technical capacity wherever located in the office structure; act more effectively and with greater flexibility in dealing with the needs of constituents; and, finally, maintain the overall unity of the organization and reinforce central policy control over its operations.
112. In implementing this policy, it is extremely important to maintain close consultations and dialogues with the ILO constituents in the Arab region, the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations, particularly ALO, and with other regional organizations such as the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions and the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of the Arab countries.
113. For the biennium 1994-1995, the ILO programme will be guided by three priority objectives, namely, promotion of the advancement of democracy, fight against poverty, and promotion of the protection of working people. In line with these objectives, the programme in the Arab States will particularly focus on human resources development, employment creation and poverty alleviation, promotion of the ratification and application of international labour standards, improvements in working conditions and the environment. ILO activities in the fields of labour legislation, industrial relations, employers' and workers' organizations and the elimination of discrimination, among others, will contribute to the promotion of democracy.
114. ILO is looking forward to collaborating on these issues with the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations, particularly ALO, in accordance with the aforementioned new policy.
115. Scarcity of resources imposes certain limitations to the implementation of joint activities agreed upon with the organizations under the League of Arab States. Since available resources from the regular budgets of ILO and its counterparts are limited for such programmes, the scope and coverage of the cooperation remains restricted. Consideration should, therefore, be given to securing adequate levels of financing from such sources as the Arab funding institutions and countries in the region, in addition to the traditional donors such as UNDP, etc., which have the capability to contribute to the joint activities of ILO and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations, mainly ALO.
116. As a practical step for strengthening the cooperation, consideration should be given to expanding or enhancing the annual meetings between the United Nations system and the League of Arab States. This could be done by narrowing down the subject matters to be discussed at the meeting, with particular emphasis on the formulation of specific joint activities and the necessary arrangements for their implementation. For this purpose, consultations among technical staff from the concerned parties need to be strengthened in preparation for, and for follow-up to, the aforementioned annual meeting. The existing mechanism of cooperation between the ILO and ALO could be considered as a model in the formulation of an appropriate cooperation mechanism between LAS and its specialized organizations on the one hand, and the United Nations system, on the other.
117. Other important measures to be strengthened include the flow and exchange of information on both technical and policy issues in order to establish specific common objectives and identify ways and means for their attainment.
118. It is to be noted that in line with the agreement on cooperation, ILO and ALO are currently implementing a comprehensive programme for joint activities covering the period 1992-1993, and a similar programme is being formulated for the biennium 1994-1995. Such programmes comprise seminars, studies and publications on technical issues of common interest, in particular, employment, vocational training, employers' and workers' activities, women workers, and international and Arab labour standards. The multidisciplinary advisory team for Arab States will be the appropriate vehicle to ensure proper implementation of the above proposal.
119. In order to strengthen the links between the ILO and LAS and its specialized organizations with the countries of the region, efforts should be made to ensure and broaden their full utilization of, and participation in, various ILO programmes and projects at country and regional level.
120. The meeting emphasized the confirmation and reinforcement of cooperation and coordination between ESCWA and ALO in the framework of the memorandum of understanding signed on 9 April 1986.
121. The meeting emphasized the reinforcement of the cooperation between the two organizations during the next decade in the following fields:
(a) Migration and displacement of manpower and the reintegration of returnees;
(b) Study of population impact on planning;
(c) Convening meetings for expert groups concerning future Arab strategy in employment (adopted by the Arab Labour Conference 1993);
(d) Participation in the study of improvements in social and economic situation of the Palestinian people;
(e) Establishment of coordinating units for monitoring and exchange of information;
(f) Establishment of joint activities in the area of human resources, development, vocational training and social development;
(g) Establishment of joint activities in connection with the project on regional household survey in the ESCWA region;
(h) Cooperation in the area of statistics;
(i) Convening of conferences on the needs and capability of disabled persons;
(j) Conducting of joint studies on the implication of European Unity on ESCWA region;
(k) Conducting of study on the situation and problems of manpower in the agricultural sector in the ESCWA region;
(l) Conducting of study on privatization; and
(m) Convening of joint meetings to study manpower in labour legislation and social security, vocational health and women at work.
122. The meeting was especially concerned over the increasing number of complex emergency situations and their impact on the development process in general, and on the vulnerable groups of the affected civilian populations, in particular.
123. Bearing in mind the importance of addressing the root causes of such situations, the meeting agreed that disaster/emergency management should encompass all aspects of pre- and post-disaster/emergency management activities, from anticipating hazard impacts through responding to disasters/emergencies, to initiating the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
124. The above implies the integration of all disaster-related activities in an overall coordinated approach from the local to the national/regional, and international levels. This approach ensures the efficient use of resources (human financial and material) within the framework of policies appropriate to the particular disaster/emergency profile of the area concerned and within the national development goals.
125. The main objectives of disaster/emergency management are:
(a) To reduce the potential losses and other adverse effects of known hazards, natural and man-made;
(b) To ensure prompt and appropriate assistance to disaster victims, when necessary;
(c) To achieve rapid and durable recovery following any disaster/emergency situation.
Proposals for strengthening and expanding cooperation between the United Nations system and LAS in the area of disaster/emergency management
126. The meeting agreed that more emphasis should be placed on the role of both the United Nations and LAS regarding awareness-raising among Arab States on the issue of disaster/emergency and its linkage to development. This can be done through the various forums, i.e. LAS meetings, United Nations country programmes and through contribution to national development plans.
127. The meeting also agreed to promote national and regional preparedness by strengthening and/or establishing national and regional capacities in that field, and by following up on national workshops on disaster management training programmes.
128. On the basis of the lessons learned form the past, it was suggested that LAS nominate a focal point with a multisectoral coordinating function to liaise between the various sectors concerned with disaster/emergency management problems.
129. It was suggested that the possibility of developing an inter-agency approach to improve the cooperation with LAS in the above-mentioned area be explored. It was agreed that the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and Habitat would follow up with UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, FAO and UNIDO on that issue.
130. The meeting suggested exploring the possibility of associating the Arab Administrative Development Organisation with the area of Disaster/Emergency Management training. It was agreed that UNDP, Department of Humanitarian Affairs and ECA would follow up on the matter.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
131. Within the context of increased global awareness of the social, economic and environmental impact of population movements, several areas of cooperation have been identified, and it is expected that further contacts will enable UNHCR and LAS to elaborate concrete collaborative activities and mechanisms for future cooperation, notably in the field of international protection of refugees, asylum seekers and persons in need of international protection.
132. The most important issues under consideration by the two organizations are the following:
(a) Conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between UNHCR and LAS;
(b) Finalization of the Arab convention on refugees;
(c) Organization of a regional seminar for non-governmental organizations on refugees and asylum seekers;
(d) Follow-up on previous discussions with ALECSO to identify areas of cooperation in the field of educational assistance to refugees;
(e) Strengthening of UNHCR cooperation with other specialized institutions of the Arab League in fields of common interest.
133. In the field of promotion and dissemination of refugee law, UNHCR and the League of Arab States are exploring new opportunities to exchange legal expertise and to jointly carry out studies and to organize conferences and seminars on protection problems on the legal situation of refugees, persons seeking asylum and displaced persons in the Arab world.
United National Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
134. UNRWA relations with the League of Arab States is different from that of other United Nations organizations. The basic difference is that UNRWA is dealing solely with Palestine refugees and that Palestine is a member of LAS. UNRWA provides quasi-governmental services which include education, health and relief and social services to about 2.7 million Palestinian refugees within its five areas of operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Occupied Territory of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
135. During 1992, cooperation and contacts were maintained at all levels between the LAS secretariat and UNRWA representatives. Meetings also took place between the Secretary-General of LAS and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA. Meetings on child welfare and development in the Arab countries and those relating to the Arab League's Education Council were attended by UNRWA representatives, with the purpose of enhancing cooperation and exchange of information. UNRWA and LAS regard their cooperation as very positive.
136. The Arab League has a special interest in UNRWA programmes and activities which are provided mainly to the Palestinians. UNRWA activities in the Occupied Territory are viewed with special interest owing to the difficulties faced by the Palestinian population there.
LAS and UNRWA
137. To enhance cooperation between LAS and UNRWA, the following have been recommended:
(i) continuation of contacts at all levels between LAS secretariat and UNRWA;
(ii) further strengthening, at the field level, of contacts, exchange of information and cooperation among the Agency's education and health staff, host governments, concerned ministries and departments;
(iii) follow-up on the idea of deploying efforts jointly with donor and prospective donor countries to obtain additional financial support for UNRWA programmes of assistance in the interest of Palestinian refugees.
138. Among the special groups, the disabled require special attention particularly with regard to their integration into the active labour force. LAS proposes that the United Nations cooperate in studying this issue and in participating in the creation of an Arab medical industry specializing in this field. Such efforts would require the assistance of the United Nations Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, UNDP, UNESCO, ALECSO, Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development and the LAS Council of Ministers of Social Affairs.
139. While innumerable, detailed and exhaustive studies of the issue of drugs have been made and national strategies adopted, the drug problem remains ubiquitous, reaching all strata of society. Further, there is a glaring absence of a comprehensive approach to dealing with the problem. LAS therefore deems necessary a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to strengthen and improve "the war on drugs" by ensuring the enrolment of all social forces and institutions in a relentless endeavour to eradicate this problem. In this regard, the meeting agreed that cooperation should be intensified among LAS (Secretariat-General of the Council of Ministers of Interior and ALECSO), UNDCP Branch for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and UNESCO along the following lines:
(a) Exchange of studies, papers and specialized publications on the subject and of information on names, methods of operation and centres of activity of traffickers;
(b) Holding of periodic meetings in Arab countries outside the framework of the regular meetings of the drug abuse control committees;
(c) Training of those involved in drug abuse control in the Arab countries in the most current methods and procedures in the field;
(d) Holding of additional scientific seminars in order to alert Arab public opinion to the dangers of the drug epidemic;
(e) Providing of assistance and encouragement in connection with the introduction of alternative crops as a substitute for narcotics in certain Arab countries.