22 March 2010
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1154

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People


to Be Held in Vienna, 24-25 March

 


Seminar to Be Followed by Meeting of Civil

Society in Support of the Palestinian People, 26 March


(Received from a UN Information Officer)


VIENNA, 22 March -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People at the United Nations Office at Vienna, on 24 and 25 March 2010.


Under the theme “Building institutions and moving forward with establishing the State of Palestine”, the goal of the Seminar is to raise the profile of and garner support for the Programme of the Palestinian Authority “ Palestine: Ending the occupation, establishing the State”.  The Seminar will also assess the current socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; discuss the urgency of bringing relief and reconstruction to the Gaza Strip; consider approaches to advancing the Palestinian State-building agenda; and look into ways of mobilizing broad international assistance in support of the Palestinian economy and alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people.


The opening session of the Seminar will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 24 March, in the UN/UNIDO Board Room of the Conference Building of the Vienna International Centre (Board Room B on the first floor of the M Building).  Statements will be made by:  Austria’s Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, Johannes Kyrle, on behalf of the Host Government; Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations in New York, as Head of the Delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and Ali Al-Jarbawi, Minister for Planning and Administrative Development of the Palestinian Authority, as a Representative of Palestine.  Mr. Al-Jarbawi will also deliver the keynote address, entitled “The Programme of the Palestinian Authority ‘ Palestine: Ending the occupation, establishing the State’”.


The following three plenary sessions will address a variety of issues and feature discussion periods:


Plenary I, entitled “The current socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, will begin at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 24 March, and last until 6 p.m.  The sub-themes of the session are:  “The socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and “The urgency of bringing relief and reconstruction to the Gaza Strip:  Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza”.  The session’s confirmed panelists include:  Mahmoud Eljafari, Dean and Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics, and Business, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem; Tarik Alami, Chief, Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Section, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Beirut; Abdelfattah Abu-Shokor, Chairman, Economics Department, An-Najah University, Nablus; and Mahmoud Elkhafif, Coordinator, Assistance to the Palestinian People, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva.


Plenary II, entitled “Looking to the future:  Advancing the Palestinian State-building agenda”, will last from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, 25 March.  It will focus on:  “Ensuring economic independence and sustainable growth through responsible governance and the development of domestic capacities and resources”; “The priority of developing Palestinian Authority institutions”; and “Laying the foundation for a competent, efficient and effective public sector”.  Among the presenters addressing this session are:  Suhair Azzouni, Member of the Advisory Board, Gender Consultative Council of the Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank, Paris; Geoff Prewitt, Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People Team Leader and Institution Development Focal Point, United Nations Development Programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jerusalem; Mohammed Samhouri, Economist, Former Senior Economic Adviser, Palestinian Authority, Cairo; Yousef Daoud, Member of the Faculty of Economics, Birzeit University, Birzeit; and Husam Zomlot, Research Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge.


Plenary III, entitled “International assistance in support of the Palestinian economy”, will last from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, 25 March.  The sub-themes of the session will be:  “The role of the United Nations system in mobilizing and coordinating international assistance to the Palestinian people”; “Support by the international donor community”; and “The role of regional economic partners”.  Confirmed speakers include:  Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jerusalem; Matthias Burchard, Head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Representative Office, Geneva; Takeshi Naruse, Senior Advisor on the Middle East and Peacebuilding, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Tokyo; Mike Bailey, Representative of the Executive Committee of the Association of International Development Agency (AIDA), Jerusalem; and Ghania Malhis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), Ramallah.


The closing session for the Seminar will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 25 March.  Addressing it will be representatives of Palestine and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.


All sessions of the Seminar will be held in Room M-BR-B and will be open to the media. Arabic, English, French and Spanish will be the official languages.


The Seminar will be followed, on Friday, 26 March, by a one-day United Nations Meeting of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, also at the United Nations Office at Vienna, in Room M-3, on the first floor of the M Building.  The focus of that Meeting will be civil society action against the wall built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.  The Meeting will also highlight the importance of upholding international law, including with respect to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding the wall, and feature discussion periods.


The Meeting of Civil Society will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, 26 March, with opening statements by representatives of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and of Palestine.  Following that, at 10:30 a.m., the morning session will consider “Civil society actions against the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank”.  It will feature the following sub-themes:  “The situation with regard to the construction of the wall –- an update”; “The role of civil society in raising public awareness about the effects of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”; and “Current civil society activities”.  The moderator will be Fritz Edlinger, Secretary-General of the Society for Austro-Arab Relations, Vienna.  Speakers will include:  Ray Dolphin, Humanitarian Affairs Officer and Barrier Expert, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jerusalem; Mohammed Khatib, Coordinator, Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall, West Bank; Jonathan Pollak, Media Coordinator, Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Tel Aviv; Said Yaqin Dawoud, Coordinator, Palestinian National Committee against the Wall, Lecturer, Al-Quds Open University, Jerusalem; and Lubna Masarwa, Community Organizer, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem.


The afternoon session of the Meeting of Civil Society will last from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 26 March.  It will focus on “The importance of upholding international law, including with respect to the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion regarding the wall” with the following sub-themes:  “Political and legislative advocacy -- reaching decision-makers and politicians”; and “Participation in international campaigns against the wall”.  The moderator will be Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization, Vienna.  Speakers will include:  Wesam Ahmad, Advocacy Officer, Al-Haq -- Law in the Service of Man, Ramallah; Jamal Zakout, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Media and Civil Society Affairs, Palestinian Authority, Ramallah; Phil Shiner, Supervisor, Public Interest Lawyers, Birmingham, United Kingdom; and Rabab Khairy, Programme Coordinator, National Centre for Cooperation and Development (CNCD-11.11.11), Brussels.


The closing session of the Meeting of Civil Society will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 26 March, and will feature remarks by representatives of Palestine and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.


All sessions of the Meeting of Civil Society will be open to the media.  Arabic and English will be the official languages.


A press conference is scheduled on Thursday, 25 March at 1 p.m. in the press room of the M Building (MOE71A).  Additional information about participants will be available at the outset of the two events.  Interested journalists will also have the opportunity to arrange individual interviews with members of the Committee’s delegation and participating speakers.


Media registration will begin in the Pass Office at Gate I at the Vienna International Centre on Tuesday, 23 March from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Journalists can also register on Wednesday, 24 March, starting at 8:00 a.m.


If you arrive at any other time, please contact the Secretariat.  As of Monday, 22 March, the Secretariat will be operating in Room MO122 and can be reached at tel.:  +43 1 26060 4663/4; fax:  +43 1 26060 5833; or dpr-meeting@un.org.


The media registration form should be e-mailed in advance to:  dpr‑meeting@un.org


Updated versions of the programme, as well as information on previous Meetings, will be available on the website of the Division for Palestinian Rights, United Nations Secretariat, at http://www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpal/calendar.htm.


The report on the Meeting will be issued, in due course, as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.


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For information media • not an official record