25 April 2011
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1196

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

Background Release


United Nations Seminar on Assistance to Palestinian People

 

Set for Helsinki, 28-29 April


HELSINKI, 25 April (Division for Palestinian Rights) — 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 Scandic Marina Congress Center in Helsinki on 28 and 29 April 2011.


Under the theme “Mobilizing international efforts in support of the Palestinian Government’s State-building programme”, the Seminar aims to review the progress of and garner further support for the Programme of the Palestinian Authority, “Palestine:  Ending the occupation, establishing the State”.  It will also assess the current socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; discuss the urgent need to bring relief to and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip; and consider approaches to advancing the Palestinian State-building programme, including ways to address political challenges.


The Seminar’s opening session will take place from 10 to 1 p.m. on Thursday, 28 April.  Delivering statements will be:  Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Under-Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and Development Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland; Abdou Salam Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations in New York and Chairman 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 the Representative of Palestine.  Mr. Al-Jarbawi will also deliver the keynote address later in the morning session.


Three plenary sessions will follow, with expert presentations addressing a variety of issues:


Plenary I, “The State-building programme of the Palestinian Government — Achievements and challenges”, will convene at 3 p.m. on 28 April.  The sub-themes of the session are:  “Assessment of progress achieved in institution-building; governance, socio-economic development and infrastructure”; “Challenges of implementing the State-building programme”; and “The urgency of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip and making headway in the Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza — Institutional and financial challenges to the realization of the Plan”.


The session’s panellists include:  Mohammad I.M. Shtayyeh, President, Palestinian Economic Centre for Development and Reconstruction, Ramallah; Reena Ghelani, Deputy Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem; John Clarke, Head of Coordination, Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Jerusalem; Mandy Turner, Lecturer in conflict resolution, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire; and Khaled Abdel Shafi, Senior Programme Adviser, Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York.


Plenary II, “Looking ahead:  Developing sovereign institutions and creating a sustainable Palestinian economy”, will convene at 10 a.m. on 29 April.  It will focus on the following sub-themes:  “Improving accountability and efficiency of the public sector”; “Creating an enabling environment for robust private sector-led growth”; “The role of women in socio-economic development”; “Investing in youth through education”; and “The role of the donor community”.


Among the experts expected to address the session are:  Akram Atalla, Manager, Fafo Office in Jerusalem; Janet Michael, Mayor of Ramallah; Bassem Khoury, Chief Executive Officer, Pharmacare, Ramallah; Raja Khalidi, Chief, Office of the Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva; Alia El-Yassir, Head of Office, UN Women West Bank and Gaza Office, Jerusalem; and Salem Ajluni, Consultant for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), San Jose, California, United States.


Plenary III, “Laying the groundwork for the sovereignty of the State of Palestine”, will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on 29 April.  The sub-themes of the session will be:  “The importance of economic viability for the sovereignty of the State of Palestine”; “Overcoming political obstacles in implementing the State-building programme”; “The role of the United Nations system in mobilizing efforts at altering Israeli settlement policies and other measures negatively affecting the Palestinian economy”; and “The role of regional economic partners in supporting a political solution”.


Experts expected to address the session include:  Firas bin Ra’ad, Development Adviser, Office of the Quartet Representative, Jerusalem; Shir Hever, Economic Researcher, Alternative Information Centre, Jerusalem; Saeb Bamya, Palestinian Coordinator, AIX Group (Joint Palestinian-Israeli-International Economic Working Group), Jerusalem; Arie Arnon, Israeli Coordinator, AIX Group, Beersheva; Zuheir El-Wazer, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Vienna; and Ziad Asali, President, American Task Force on Palestine, Washington, D.C.


The Seminar’s closing session will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 29 April.  Representatives of Finland, Palestine and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will speak.


All sessions of the Seminar will be held in Conference Room Fennia II, located on the second floor of the Scandic Marina Congress Center, and will be open to the media.  The official language is English.


A press conference will be held on 28 April at 1 p.m. in Conference Room Fennia II.  Interested journalists will also have the opportunity to conduct individual interviews with members of the Committee delegation and participating experts.


Participants are requested to register and obtain meeting badges prior to entering the conference room.  Registration will take place at the Scandic Marina Congress Center on Tuesday, 26 April, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; on Wednesday, 27 April, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and throughout the two days of the Seminar, in the Secretariat office near Conference Room Fennia II.


People arriving at any other time should contact the Secretariat.  As of 26 April, the Secretariat will be operating in Office 1 on the second floor, near Conference Room Fennia II, tel.:  +358 9 1666911, e-mail:  dpr-meeting@un.org.


A registration form for media representatives, updated versions of the programme and 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.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record