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        Economic and Social Council

27 August 1985

General Assembly
Economic and Social Council

27 August 1985


GENERAL ASSEMBLY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL Item 21 of the provisional agenda**
Fortieth session
Item 12 of the provisional agenda*
Assistance to the Palestinian people

Report of the Secretary-General



1. The General Assembly in resolution 39/224 of 18 December 1984, inter alia, requested the Secretary-General (a) to expedite the finalizing, through existing inter-agency mechanisms, of the co-ordinated programme of economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people requested in General Assembly resolution 387145 of 19 December 1983; (b) to convene in 1985 a meeting of the relevant programmed, organizations, agencies, funds and organs of the United Nations system to consider the co-ordinated programmes of economic and social assistance to the Palestinian peoples and (c) to provide for the participation in the meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Arab host countries and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

2. Accordingly, the Secretary-General convened a meeting at Geneva on 5 and 8 July 1985. In accordance with resolution 39/224, representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the Arab host countries participated in the meeting.

3. Representatives of the following programmer, organizations, agencies and organs of the United Nations system attended the meeting: Department of International Economic and Social Affairs and Department of Technical Co-operation for Development of the United Nations Secretariat, Economic Commission for Africa, Economic Commission for Western Asia, Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, World Food Programme, International Labour Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, Universal Postal Union, International Telecommunication Union, and International Maritime Organization.

* A/40/150.

** E/1985/100.

4. The following intergovernmental organizations were represented: Council of Europe, European Economic Community, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

5. The following non-governmental organizations were represented: Arab Jurists Union, Arab Lawyers Union, Caritas Internationalis, Middle East Council of Churches, World Federation of Trade Unions, and World Peace Council.

6. The Director in the Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation acted as Chairman.

7. The meeting had before it the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/40/353-E/1985/115 and corrigendum).

8. The meeting was informed that, as requested in resolution 39/224, the Secretariat had utilized an existing inter-agency mechanism, namely, the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions (Programme Matters) (CCSQ (PROG)) of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination, for consultations with organizations and agencies on the co-ordinated programme. CCSQ (PROG) considered the question in April 1985. It was agreed at that meeting that, in order to move towards a co-ordinated programme of economic and social assistance for the Palestinian people, future or planned activities of the agencies should be grouped thematically into three categories: (a) development activities, (b) education and training and (c) health. Information on current activities would, as in previous reports, be presented organization by organization.

9. It was recognized by the participants that the meeting provided a useful forum to assess progress in economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people and to explore ways and means of enhancing such assistance. The meeting also noted that organs and organizations of the United Nations system continued to provide economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in accordance with their respective mandates. While the meeting noted that some progress had been made towards the development of the co-ordinated programme of economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in response to General Assembly resolutions 38/145 and 39/224 and that the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/40/353-E/1985/115 and corrigendum) represented a modest advance in this direction, it was felt that the proposals before the meeting did not at this stage constitute a co-ordinated programme in its final form as envisaged in the General Assembly resolutions. The meeting noted that, given the complexity Of the issues and circumstances involved, it was difficult at this stage to provide specific information on all aspects of the activities, with a detailed assessment of financial requirements. The provision of fuller information on proposed or planned activities for the future in a thematic framework was seen as an effort to move further towards developing a co-ordinated programme.

10. The meeting discussed in some detail the activities currently carried out by the United Nations system as reflected in chapter II of the report of the Secretary-General (A/40/353-E/1985/115 and corrigendum), and of the future and proposed activities of the organizations, as contained in chapter III of the above-mentioned report. The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization sought clarifications and explanations on specific activities to which responses were provided by the concerned organizations of the United Nations system. The meeting also heard statements by representatives of some of the Arab host countries, and by the representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which were present at the meeting. It noted that attendance by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations remained inadequate.

11. In conclusion, the meeting was of the view that (a) there is a need to ensure continuing review of the progress made in the implementation of the activities and programmed contained in the report of the Secretary-General (A/40/353-E/1985/115 and corrigendum) and (b) further efforts need to be made to finalize the programme of assistance as envisaged in General Assembly resolutions 38/145 and 39/224.


12. Additional information updating the information contained in the report of the Secretary-General (A/40/353-E/1985/115 and corrigendum) was provided by a number of organizations. This information is set out below.

A. United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Paragraph 49

13. Both studies are expected to be completed before the end of August 1985.

Paragraph 95

14. The study for the establishment of industrial seaport facilities is in the formulation stage. The funds to carry out the study for a Palestinian industrial bank have been secured and, therefore, its implementation is expected to start in the near future.

Paragraph 108

15. Funds are being sought for the training programme on the organization and management of industrial co-operatives. The funds to carry out the training programme on policy and consultancy activities in small-scale industrial enterprises have been secured and, therefore, its implementation is expected to commence in the near future. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization will continue to invite the submission of Palestinian candidates to participate in numerous group training programmed and workshops arranged as part of its regular activities.
B. United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

Paragraph 94

16. The Commission on Human Settlements, at its eighth session, held at Kingston, Jamaica, from 29 April to 19 May 1985, adopted resolution 8/9 entitled "Activities for the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless in the occupied Palestinian territories", in which it requested the Executive Director to prepare a "study on the housing of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, in co-ordination with the Palestine Liberation Organization and concerned United Nations agencies". 1/ The Executive Director was requested to submit the study to the Commission at its ninth session.

17. Pursuant to the above request, Habitat has recruited two consultants to assist with the preparation of the study which will, inter alia, include a review of the current human settlement situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and proposals for a comprehensive housing programme for the Palestinian population in those territories on the occasion of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987).

C. United Nations Children's Fund

Paragraph 88

18. Financial support from the general resources of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which has already been approved and allocated by the UNICEF Executive Board for expenditure from 1985 onwards, amounts to $671,000 in respect Of Jordan, $716,000 for Lebanon and $546,000 for the Syrian Arab Republic.
D. United Nations Development Programme

19. At its thirty-second session in June 1985, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in decision 85/15, reaffirmed the commitment of UNDP to assist the Palestinian people in advancing their economic and social development, and noted the difficulties encountered in efforts by the international community to bring meaningful and comprehensive development assistance to the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. The Governing Council expressed it gratitude to those Governments and funds which have responded generously to its appeals and to those of the General Assembly for additional special contributions to the third programming cycle (1982-1985). Noting that, unless additional contributions were received, it would not be possible to undertake in a timely and fully effective fashion the ready pipeline of basic development projects in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Governing Council authorized the allocation of an additional $2 million from third-cycle special programme resources in order to maintain the momentum of the programme of assistance to the Palestinian people and ensure a smooth transition into the fourth cycle. 2/
E. International Labour Organisation

Paragraph 59

20. The latest report on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories was submitted by the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to the International Labour Conference at its seventy-first session in June 1985.

Paragraph 62

21. Use had continued to be made of the opportunities afforded by the programmed of the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training. A dozen fellowships had recently been awarded, for example, to enable Palestinians from the occupied territories to take a training course in industrial management in the second half of 1985.

Paragraph 99

22. At the latest International Labour Conference (June 1985), the Director-General expressed the hope that greater resources would be made available for the assistance of workers in the occupied territories, to enable ILO to increase its aid to the areas within its competence.

F. World Health Organization

23. There is steady progress in the development of health centres in the occupied territories. Two such centres are formally designated as World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres in Primary Health Care. Work is under way at the first of these centres, the Health Service Research Centre at Ramallah. The full responsibility for technical supervision of the primary health care research work which will be undertaken at each centre will rest with WHO. The overall objective of the work will be to support the undertaking of health systems research aimed at total coverage of the local population with primary health care, using the most appropriate technology.

24. At Ramallah, where specific research projects are now getting under way, these projects will include an evaluation of a plan for expanded primary health care in the villages of the area; evaluative studies of the practices and outcomes of the work of traditional birth attendants as a component of primary health care; continuation of previous studies of growth and development of infants and children, evaluative studies on the effects of the intensive programme of immunization against tetanus neonatorum and adult tetanus; evaluation of the routine immunization programme for the prevention of rubella, a study to assess the utilization and impact of oral rehydration therapy in primary health care and in hospital centres; basic epidemiological studies of acute respiratory diseases and of villages in the area, in the epidemiology of hepatitis and of brucellosis, as well as studies related to nutrition, breast-feeding and anaemia.

25. The second centre to be designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre is the Epidemiology and Health Information Centre of the Health Services of Gaza. It is anticipated that a costed work plan to enable specific activities to get under way at Gaza will be presented to the authorities concerned in the very near future.

26. It is anticipated that a third centre, whose focus will primarily be on health manpower research in relation to primary health care, will be designated at an early date.

1/ See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fortieth session, Supplement No. 8 (A/40/8), annex I.

2/ For the report of the thirty-second session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme, see Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1985, Supplement No. 11 (E/1985/32).

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