|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
TO BE HELD IN CAIRO, 10-11 MARCH
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
CAIRO, 3 March -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, with the agreement of the Government of Egypt, will convene the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People on 10 and 11 March 2009 at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel in Cairo. The holding of the Seminar is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly.
The objective of the Seminar, at this critical time, is to contribute to wider international efforts aimed at supporting the process of recovery and reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. The Seminar will assess the current situation; identify the most urgent humanitarian, reconstruction and development needs, including those of Palestinian children and women -- the most vulnerable segment of Gaza’s population; and look into ways of coordinating the international relief and reconstruction effort.
Invited to the United Nations Seminar are internationally renowned experts, as well as representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, intergovernmental organizations, the United Nations system entities involved in projects of assistance to the Palestinian people, civil society and the media.
The opening session will take place on Tuesday, 10 March, at 10 a.m. in the “Teeba Conference Room” of the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel. The Seminar will be opened by a high-ranking Government official of Egypt. Riad Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, will represent Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Seminar, will deliver a message from the Secretary-General and make a keynote presentation. Paul Badji ( Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, will address the session on behalf of the Committee. This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations system entities will be invited to make statements.
Beginning in the afternoon on 10 March, three plenary sessions will address a variety of issues. Each plenary will have a discussion period. All sessions of the Seminar will be held in the “Teeba Conference Room” of the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel. The official languages of the meeting will be Arabic, English and French.
Plenary I will begin at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 March. Panellists and participants will discuss the “Current situation in the Gaza Strip”, including the assessment of damage after the Israeli invasion; the emergency humanitarian assistance needs; other urgent immediate and longer-term needs; and the coordination of assessment efforts. Speakers will include Mohammad Shtayyeh, President of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction in Ramallah; Rosemary Willey-Al’Sanah, Field Coordination Unit Manager with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Gerard Peytrignet, Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Cairo; Christine VanNieuwenhuyse, Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in East Jerusalem; and Ahmed Sourani, Director of Projects and External Relations of the Agricultural Development Association in Gaza.
Plenary II entitled “Looking ahead: Identifying the most urgent humanitarian, reconstruction and development needs”, will start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 March. The sub-themes of the plenary will include restoring basic services, providing shelter, launching reconstruction; giving Gaza’s children a future; ending Gaza’s isolation and restarting the economy; and supporting the Palestinian Authority’s Reform and Development Plan. Speakers will include Samir Abdullah, Minister for Planning of the Palestinian Authority; Ghassan Kasabreh, Director of the NGO Development Centre in Ramallah; Patricia McPhillips, Special Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Husam Zomlot, visiting scholar at the Center for Middle East Studies of Harvard University; Jamie Balfour-Paul, Middle East Policy Adviser to Oxfam Great Britain; and Khaled Abdel Shafi, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Gaza.
Plenary III entitled “Coordination of international efforts to provide relief and promote reconstruction” will take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 March. Panellists and participants will discuss the role of the United Nations and its system entities; the role of intergovernmental organizations and key donors; and the role of relief/aid organizations and civil society. Speakers will include John Clark, Head of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East (UNSCO) Coordination Unit; Michael Ryan, Head of the Section for Political Affairs and Information of the Delegation of the European Commission to Egypt; Ahmed Maher, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt; and Charles Clayton, Chairman of the Association of International Development Agencies in Jerusalem.
The closing session of the meeting will take place from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on 11 March.
The report of the two events will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.
A press conference by Mr. Badji ( Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and representatives of Egypt and Palestine will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 March, at the Seminar site. Interested journalists will also have the opportunity to arrange individual interviews with the members of the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and participating experts.
Participants and observers, including the media, are kindly requested to register with the United Nations Secretariat at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, third floor, on Sunday, 8 March, and Monday, 9 March, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration on Tuesday, 10 March, will start at 8:30 a.m. in the foyer to the conference room.
* *** *For information media • not an official record