24 May 2012
General Assembly
GA/PAL/1231

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

Background Release


United Nations International Meeting on Question of Palestine to Consider


Role of Youth and Women in Peaceful Resolution, Paris 30–31 May


Meeting on Civil Society Action towards Ending Occupation

By Harnessing Power of Youth and Women Follows 1 June, in Paris


The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine on 30 and 31 May at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, in Paris.  The theme of the Meeting is “The role of youth and women in the peaceful resolution of the question of Palestine”. 


The Meeting aims at mobilizing the international community in support of youth and women’s initiatives on the ground and further raising awareness of the ways in which the energy and resourcefulness of youth and women can be harnessed to achieve a peaceful end to the Israeli occupation.  The Meeting will focus on how to empower women and youth through education, training and economic opportunities and on how to include them more in the political process.  It will also look at social media networks and their impact on the building of an open Palestinian society, and will consider the role of the international community, in particular, how Governments, United Nations entities and international civil society organizations can better coordinate their efforts with Palestinian and Israeli youths and women organizations to achieve a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine.


The Meeting is being organized in keeping with General Assembly resolutions 66/14 and 66/15 of 30 November 2011.  Invited to the Meeting will be representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, other intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, members of the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.


The Opening session will take place on Wednesday, 30 May, at 10 a.m., in Conference Room XI of the UNESCO building.  Statements are expected to be made by a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee; Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO on behalf of the Director-General; and Rabiha Diab, Minister of Women's Affairs of the Palestinian Authority as the representative of Palestine.  Minister Diab will also deliver the keynote presentation later in the morning session.  Also speaking in the morning session will be Stéphane Frédéric Hessel, Honorary Ambassador of France. The opening session will be followed by plenary sessions, during which experts will make presentations on specific issues.  Each plenary will have a discussion period.  The official languages of the Meeting will be Arabic, English and French.  Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in these three languages.


Plenary I, entitled “The situation of youth and women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, will begin in the afternoon of Wednesday, 30 May, at 3 p.m.  The session will provide insight into the impact of the occupation on youth and women, with a particular focus on socio-economic and health conditions, access to education and employment and the situation of refugees; political engagement and community initiatives by youth and women’s organizations; and challenges and opportunities to participation in the resistance to the occupation.  Speakers include Siham Rashid, Project Manager at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), Ramallah; Matthias Burchard, Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Representative Offices to the European Union and Geneva, Brussels; Nour Odeh, Freelance journalist and media consultant, Ramallah;Akram Natsheh, Youth Against Settlements, Hebron; and Mohammed S. M. Iqtifan, Campaign Coordinator at Migratory letters Campaign, Gaza.


Plenary II, entitled “Empowerment of women and youth:  a core prerequisite in building the Palestinian society for an independent State of Palestine”, will start in the morning of Thursday, 31 May, at 10 a.m.  During the session, experts and participants will discuss efforts to empower women and youth through capacity-building and training, education, job and career opportunities, entrepreneurship; Security Council efforts to empower women:  Resolution 1325 (2000); the participation of Palestinian youth and women’s groupings in the decision-making process, in particular their access and involvement in actions and initiatives in support of the two-State solution; and the role of youths in contributing to the building of an open Palestinian society through social media and networks.  Speakers include Louise Haxthausen, Programme Coordinator of Conflict and Post-Conflict Operations at UNESCO; Nawaf Salam, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York; Leila Shahid, General Delegate of Palestine to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, Brussels; Sabri Saidam, Advisor to the President of the Palestinian Authority onTelecommunications, Information Technology andTechnical Education, Ramallah; and Muath Abu Arqoub, Youth activist and expert on social media, Ramallah.


Plenary III, on Thursday afternoon, 31 May, at 3 p.m., entitled “The role of the international community, in particular the United Nations and civil society”, will look at targeted programmes by United Nations entities on the ground; international civil society action to end the occupation and achieve a two-State solution; and cooperation and coordination between the United Nations, international civil society organizations and Palestinian youth and women organizations.  Speakers include Tal Harris, Executive Director of One Voice Israel, Tel Aviv; Phyllis Bennis from the United States Campaign to End the Occupation, Washington, D.C.; Rutie Atsmon, Co-founder and Director of Windows:  Channels for Communication, Tel Aviv; Shifa Jayousi, Programme Officer at the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Jerusalem; and Fadwa Khawaja Al-Shaer, Director General of the NGO Department at the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Interior, Ramallah.


The Closing session of the Meeting will take place on Thursday, 31 May, at 5:30 p.m.  It will be addressed by Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and Committee Chairman, Mr. Diallo.


A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, 30 May, at 12:30 p.m. in Room XI.  Registered media representatives will also have the opportunity to arrange individual interviews with members of the Committee delegation and participating speakers.


Following the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations Meeting of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace on 1 June, also at UNESCO.  The theme of the Meeting is “Civil society action towards ending the occupation:  Harnessing the power of youth and women”.  The Meeting will look into ways in which civil society organizations serve as a platform for empowering youths and women.  Through discussions in breakout groups, the Meeting will examine the various areas of civil society action and explore the power of social media in mobilizing stakeholders.


The Meeting will begin on Friday, 1 June, at 10 a.m. in Conference Room XI of the UNESCO building, with opening remarks by Mr. Diallo.


The Opening will be followed by five Breakout sessions, at 10:30 a.m., in Conference Room XI and VI, which will discuss the issues:  Monitoring the situation on the ground and establishing accountability; Alleviating the suffering of the people under occupation:  humanitarian assistance; Advocacy groups:  disseminating information, mobilizing constituencies; Mobilizing youths and women:  Achieving change through education and action; and Economic empowerment for the future of a viable State.  Moderators include Ms. Bennis; Mr. Iqtifan; Wisam Shweiki, Local Youth Councils Programme Manager of Sharek Youth Forum; Ms. Atsmon; Khaled M. A. Quzmar, Legal Consultant of Defence for Children International — Palestine Section; and Gila Norich, Director of Development of Physicians for Human Rights — Israel.


The Interactive Session on Friday afternoon, 1 June, at 3 p.m., entitled “The power of social media”, will see an online presentation about a virtual peace conference launched by YaLa Young Leaders on their Facebook page, and discuss the social media’s role in mobilizing stakeholders.  Speakers include Shoruq A.H. Morakten of YaLa Young Leaders, and Mr. Arqoub.


The Closing Session on Friday afternoon, 1 June at 4 p.m., entitled “The Way Forward”, will hear reporting back from the various breakout groups.  Participants are also expected to adopt a call for action to end the occupation and realize an independent State of Palestine.


All sessions of the Meeting will be open to the media.  The Meeting will be webcast live.  The webcast, as well as continuously updated information about the Meeting, will be available on the website of the Division for Palestinian Rights at www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpal/calendar.htm, as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UN.palestinianrights and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/unispal, or via the Twitter hash tag #UNPalrights.  Questions to the speakers can be submitted by including #UNPalrights in your tweet, and the name of the speaker to whom the question is directed.


The Summary of the Chairman on the outcomes of the Meeting will be available at the above link shortly after the Meeting finalizes its work.  Full reports on the Meeting’s proceedings will be issued, in due course, as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights


Participants are requested to register with the Secretariat at its Office or, on the days of the Meeting, at the registration desk at the main entrance of UNESCO, Place de Fontenoy.  If you hold a UNESCO grounds pass, kindly register prior to entering the conference room.  The main Secretariat is located in Room S376 at UNESCO.  The telephone numbers of the Secretariat are +33-1-45 68 50 12/8 50 14; the fax number is +33-1-45 68 55 25.  The e-mail is:  dpr-meeting@un.org.


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For information media • not an official record