United Nations


General Assembly
Economic and Social Council

Distr. GENERAL  

12 July 1995


Fiftieth session  Substantive session of 1995
Item 20 (b) of the preliminary  Item 5 (c) of the provisional
  list*        agenda**

           Letter dated 30 June 1995 from the Chairman of the Committee
           on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People addressed to the Secretary-General

  I have the  honour to draw to your attention the report of  the Seminar on
Palestinian Administrative,  Managerial and Financial  Needs and Challenges,
held  in  Paris at  the  headquarters  of  the  United Nations  Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization  from 28 to 30 June 1995.  The  Seminar
was convened by the Committee on the Exercise  of the Inalienable Rights  of
the   Palestinian  People  in   accordance  with   its  mandate  to  promote
international support for  and assistance to  the Palestinian  people during
the transitional period.

  The Seminar  provided a  framework  for an  exchange of  views on  various
aspects of the current challenges facing  the Palestinians in their  efforts


  *  A/50/50/Rev.1.

    **  E/1995/100.

95-20952 (E)   240795/...
establish  an effective  administration in  the  area under  the Palestinian
Authority and the measures  that can be taken  and the role of international
assistance  in that regard.  Major categories of participants in the seminar
were  donor   countries,  intergovernmental  organizations,  United  Nations
bodies and agencies and  non-governmental organizations active in the field,
as well as Palestinian, Israeli and other  experts.  The Committee considers
that the seminar was  a timely and  useful event  and hopes thereby to  have
made  a  constructive  contribution  to  international  efforts  to  promote
Palestinian social and economic development, which  is so essential for  the
achievement of a just and lasting peace.

  I  have the  honour  to attach  for your  information  the report  of  the
Seminar (see  annex).  I should  be grateful if you  would have  the text of
the  present letter and  its annex  circulated as a document  of the General
Assembly, under  item 20 (b) of  the preliminary list,  and of the  Economic
and Social Council, under agenda item 5 (c).

(Signed)  Keba Birane CISSE             
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People

         United Nations Seminar on Palestinian Administrative, Managerial
         and Financial Needs and Challenges, held at the headquarters of
         the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, Paris, from 28 to 30 June 1995


  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................1 - 124

  A.  Organization of the Seminar ......................      14

  B.  Participation ....................................  2 - 94

  C.  Opening of the Seminar ...........................     105

  D.  Agenda ...........................................  11 - 126

II.  SUMMARY OF PRESENTATIONS .............................13 -646

  A.  Opening session ..................................  13 - 166

  B.  Plenary session:  Palestinian administrative,
    managerial  and  financial  needs  and  challenges  -       the  role of
international assistance .............  17 - 338

  C.  Round-table discussions ..........................  34 - 6213

  D.  Closing session ..................................  63 - 6423

A.  Organization of the Seminar

1.   The  Seminar on  Palestinian Administrative,  Managerial and  Financial
Needs and Challenges was  convened by the  Committee on the Exercise of  the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People  in accordance with its mandate
to  promote  international support  for  and  assistance to  the Palestinian

people during the transitional  period.  The Seminar  was held in Paris from
28 to 30 June  1995, at the headquarters of the United Nations  Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

B.  Participation

2.    The Committee  on  the  Exercise  of the  Inalienable  Rights  of  the
Palestinian  People was  represented by  a  delegation comprising  Mr.  Keba
Birane  Cisse (Senegal),  Chairman; Mr.  Ravan A. G.  Farhadi (Afghanistan),
Vice-Chairman; Mr.  Joseph Cassar (Malta),  Rapporteur; Mr. Alimamy  Bangura
(Sierra Leone); and Mr.  Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).   The officers of  the
Committee served as officers of the Seminar in their respective capacities.

3.  Invitations to participate in the Seminar were extended to  Governments,
intergovernmental organizations,  organizations and agencies  of the  United
Nations system  and non-governmental  organizations.   A  number of  experts
were invited to make presentations at the Seminar. 

4.    The  following  Governments  were  represented:   Algeria,  Argentina,
Austria,  Bahrain,  Belarus, Belgium,  Brazil,  Brunei  Darussalam,  Canada,
Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic,  Ecuador, Egypt, Greece,
Hungary,  India, Indonesia,  Iran  (Islamic Republic  of),  Ireland,  Italy,
Japan, Jordan,  Malawi, Mexico,  Morocco, Namibia,  Nepal, the  Netherlands,
Norway,  Qatar,  Republic  of  Korea,  Russian  Federation,  Saudi   Arabia,
Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey,  Uganda,
Ukraine, United  Arab  Emirates and  United  Kingdom  of Great  Britain  and
Northern Ireland.

5.    The following  organizations,  agencies  and  entities  of the  United
Nations  system participated:    UNESCO,  International Labour  Organization
(ILO), United Nations  Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),  United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Institute for  Training
and Research (UNITAR), United Nations Relief  and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees  in  the Near  East  (UNRWA),  Office  of the  United  Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Monetary Fund (IMF),  World
Health  Organization  (WHO)  and  Department  for  Development  Support  and
Management Services of the Secretariat.

6.    The  following  intergovernmental  and  national  organizations   were
represented:    Movement  of  Non-Aligned  Countries,  Organization  of  the
Islamic Conference  (OIC), League of Arab States, European Commission, Group
of 77, French National Audit Office  and International Institute for  Public
Administration (France).

 7.  The delegation of Palestine took part in the work of the Seminar.

8.    The  following  experts  participating  in  their  individual capacity
presented papers:  Mr. Sameer Abu-Eisheh,  Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Al-
Najah University, who had  accepted an invitation to present a paper at  the
Seminar,  was not given an exit visa by the  Israeli authorities.  His paper
was, however, circulated to the participants.   Mr. Hussein Al-A'raj, Deputy
Head for Local Government, Palestinian Authority;  Mr. Atef Alawneh,  Deputy
Head, Department of  Finance, Palestinian Authority; Mr. Ibrahim Al  Daghma,
Chief, Legal Advice  and Legislation Department, Palestinian Authority;  Mr.
Bishara  A. Bahbah,  Associate Director,  Institute for  Social and Economic
Policy in the Middle East, Harvard  University; Mr. Amin Baidoun,  Director-
General for International  Cooperation, Palestinian Authority; Mr. Fouad  H.
Beseiso, Governor,  Palestinian Monetary Authority;  Mr. Abdel Hamid  Bouab,
Officer-in-Charge,  Public   Finance  and   Enterprise  Management   Branch,
Department for Development  Support and Management Services, United  Nations
Secretariat;  Mr.   Alfons  Calderon  Riera,  Assistant  Professor,  Escuela
Superior de Administracion  y Direccion de Empresas, Barcelona; Mr.  Georges
Capdeboscq,  Counsellor, French  National Audit  Court; Mr.  Alain  Claisse,
Professor of Public Law, Universite de  Paris; Mr. Ghassan El-Shakah,  Mayor
of Nablus; Mr. Musa D. Ghosheh, Head, Employees  Bureau, West Bank; Mr. Yair

Hirschfeld,  Director-General, Economic  Cooperation  Foundation  and Senior
Lecturer,  University  of Haifa;  Mr.  George  Jadoun,  Technical  Programme
Manager,  Training Focal  Point for  Palestine, ILO  International  Training
Centre,  Turin; Ms. Muna H. Jawhary, Economist-Consultant, London/Jerusalem;
Mr. Gilles Johanet, Counsellor, French National  Audit Court; Mr. Mustafa A.
N.  Natshe, Mayor of  Hebron; Mr.  Stephen B.  Peterson, Research Associate,
Harvard  Institute for  International Development,  Harvard University;  Mr.
Shibley Telhami, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

9.     The   Presbyterian  Church  (USA)  attended   as  a  non-governmental

C.  Opening of the Seminar

10.    At  the  opening session,  a  statement  was made  on  behalf  of the
DirectorGeneral of UNESCO by Mr. Omar  Massalha, Director, Coordination Unit
for  Assistance to the  Palestinian People,  UNESCO secretariat.   A message
from the  Secretary-General  of the  United  Nations  was  read out  by  his
representative, Mr. Robert  Gallagher, Deputy to  the United Nations Special
Coordinator in the Occupied Territories.  Statements were made by Mr.  Ravan
A.  G.  Farhadi,  Vice-Chairman of  the  Committee on  the  Exercise of  the
Inalienable Rights  of the Palestinian People  and by  the representative of
Palestine, Mrs.  Leila Shahid, General Delegate  of Palestine  to France and
Permanent Observer of Palestine to UNESCO.

 D.  Agenda

11.   The purpose of the  Seminar was to provide  a framework for an  expert
discussion  on  the  problems  of  institution-building  and  socio-economic
development,  and on measures  to be  taken during  the transitional period,
with special  emphasis on  the questions  of administration, management  and
finance  in the  light  of  the developments  that have  taken place  in the
course of the past year.

12.    In  the  plenary  sessions  and  in  the course  of  the  round-table
discussions, the participants addressed the following general themes:

  (a)    Palestinian administrative,  managerial  and  financial  needs  and
challenges - the role of international assistance;

  (b)  The Palestinian Authority - needs and challenges of administration;

  (c)  Laying the foundation for public financial management;

  (d)  Supporting  the development of  Palestinian municipalities and public

  (e)  Human  resources development and management - building  institutional


A.  Opening session

13.   On  behalf  of the  Director-General  of  UNESCO,  Mr. Omar  Massalha,
Director,  Coordination  Unit for  Assistance  to  the  Palestinian  People,
UNESCO  secretariat, welcomed the  participants in  the Seminar.   He stated
that, since  1950, UNESCO  had been  working through  UNRWA in the  areas of
education,  science  and  the  preservation  of  the  Palestinian   cultural
heritage  and had  also  provided  scholarships for  Palestinians  to  study
abroad.   With the transfer  of powers to the  Palestinian Authority, UNESCO
and the Palestinian Authority had elaborated  and adopted a joint  programme
of assistance, regrouping 27 priority projects  related to the UNESCO  areas

of activity.   The programme, designed  to contribute  to the reconstruction
and  development of  the self-governed  territories, included  strengthening
Palestinian  institutions  and  affirmation  of  the  Palestinian  identity;
development   of  human   resources,  particularly  through   programmes  of
education and transfer of technology; creation of employment  opportunities;
and establishment  of a  lasting peace  and interregional  cooperation.   In
carrying out the programme, UNESCO  would cooperate not only  with the other
organizations  of the  United Nations  system  but  also with  the principal
donor countries and the United Nations  Special Coordinator in the  Occupied
Territories.   Mr. Massalha  underlined that  the primary  objective of  the
United Nations in the areas of education, science and culture was to  assist
the Palestinian  Authority in promoting  the development  of human resources
and institutions  towards the  establishment of  a modern  and just  society
based on respect  for peace, human rights, mutual understanding,  solidarity
and progress.
  14.   A message  from the United Nations  Secretary-General to the Seminar
was read out by  Mr. Robert Gallagher, Deputy to the United Nations  Special
Coordinator  in the Occupied  Territories.   In his  message, the Secretary-
General  of the United  Nations stressed the  important steps  that had been
taken  since  the signing  of  the  historic  Declaration  of Principles  on
Interim  Self-Government   Arrangements  (A/48/486-S/26560,  annex)  by  the
Palestine Liberation  Organization (PLO) and  the Government  of Israel,  in
particular the Agreement on  the Gaza Strip and  the Jericho Area (A/49/180-
S/1994/727, annex),  signed at  Cairo on  4 May  1994, the  transfer to  the
Palestinian Authority  of responsibility for  important sectors of  civilian
life and the continuation of intensive  negotiations on redeployment of  the
Israeli Defence Forces in the West Bank and  for elections to a  Palestinian
Council.   In his message, the  Secretary-General said  that the realization
of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people had long been a  priority
for  the United  Nations.   The  development  of a  comprehensive assistance
programme   aimed  at  removing  inequities  in  the   social  and  economic
conditions of  the Palestinians  had been  recognized as  contributing to  a
stable base  for the  negotiating process,  which, despite  delays and  set-
backs, remained  the only  path towards  a comprehensive,  just and  lasting
settlement based on Security Council resolutions  242 (1967) of 22  November
1967  and 338  (1973) of  22 October  1973.    Progress in  the multilateral
negotiations  on Middle East  regional issues directly affected the economic
situation and well-being of the Palestinian  people.  The Middle  East/North
Africa Economic Summit,  held at  Casablanca from 30  October to 1  November
1994, marked  an  important  first  step  towards  building a  new  type  of
economic  interaction  in  the  region.    The  Secretary-General  expressed
concern  at  the slack  pace  of  disbursement  by  the international  donor
community of contributions pledged  for Palestinian development  needs.  The
United  Nations  Special   Coordinator  in  the  Occupied  Territories   had
undertaken the responsibility of strengthening local coordination among  the
United  Nations programmes and  agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and
the donor community. The Secretary-General noted  that, in the common United
Nations effort  to  assist the  Palestinian  people,  the Committee  on  the
Exercise of  the Inalienable Rights of  the Palestinian  People continued to
make a  valuable  contribution and  that  its  mandate of  promoting  better
understanding of  the  various aspects  of  the  question of  Palestine  and
enhancing  awareness of  the  reconstruction  and development  needs of  the
Palestinian people had acquired new thrust and urgency. 

15.  The Vice-Chairman  of the Committee on  the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of  the Palestinian  People  said that  the economic  rebirth of  the
Palestinian  people had become  a possibility  owing to  the overall headway
made in the peace  process.  In  spite of the many disappointing  set-backs,
the  Committee was encouraged  that the  parties appeared  determined not to
abandon the negotiating track and to move on  to fulfilling all the elements
of their agreements.   Important steps had  been taken to coordinate efforts
with respect  to the  economic  development  of the  Middle East  and  North
Africa region,  such as  the Casablanca Declaration  (A/49/645, annex),  the
forthcoming  Amman Economic Summit, to be followed by the Euro-Mediterranean
conference at  Barcelona, and  the joint  communique issued  on 12  February
1995  at Blair  House, Washington,  D.C.  For  decades, the  United Nations,

which marked its fiftieth  anniversary this year, had been making efforts to
find  a  comprehensive,  just  and  lasting  solution  to  the  question  of
Palestine and had been providing  much-needed assistance to  the Palestinian
people.    Regrettably,  the living  conditions  of  the  Palestinian people
remained  dismal and required urgent attention as well as the involvement of
the international community.   While appreciating the impressive  assistance
effort  and  considerable  funds  pledged  for  the  reconstruction  of  the
Palestinian economy by the international donor  community, the Committee was
concerned  that those  resources were  yet to  reach in  full  the recipient
Palestinian institutions.  Since the beginning  of the Madrid peace process,
the Committee  had welcomed the  new developments and worked  to promote the
effective implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

16.  Reading out a message  addressed to the Seminar by  the Chairman of the
Executive Committee  of PLO, Mr. Yasser  Arafat, Mrs.  Leila Shahid, General
Delegate  of Palestine  to France  and  Permanent  Observer of  Palestine to
UNESCO, said  that,  since  its  creation,  the  Palestinian  Authority  had
enabled the  Palestinian people to  build a  free, democratic society.   The
Authority sought  to guarantee  the rights  of Palestinian  citizens and  to
enact laws for the building  of a new Palestinian State  and for a  taxation
system.   The  building of  an  effective  administrative system  required a
great deal of planning  and it was necessary to find financial resources for
that effort, she said.  The Palestinian Authority was being asked to set  up
effective administrative  and financial  institutions and it needed  to find
the necessary financial and  technical assistance.  Unfortunately, the funds
thus far acquired  had not been sufficient.   She expressed appreciation  to
all  the  representatives  of  donor  countries  and  the   non-governmental
organizations   that   had   extended   assistance   to   the    Palestinian
administrative and financial system.   The current Seminar was being held at
a  critical  juncture  for  the  Palestinian  people,  when  the Palestinian
Authority was about  to take responsibility  in such areas  as taxation  and

        B.  Plenary session:  Palestinian administrative, managerial and
            financial needs and challenges - the role of international

17.  The  plenary session was reserved  for statements by representatives of
donor   countries   and  other   States,   intergovernmental   and  national
organizations,  non-governmental  organizations  and  organizations  of  the
United Nations system.

18.  The representative  of France said that his country had been  providing
assistance to the Palestinian  people long before the Oslo agreements.  That
assistance was  based on clear and  long-standing support for  the rights of
the  Palestinian people.   Assistance provided  by France  also testified to
awareness of  the economic  difficulties facing  the Palestinian  Authority.
The fragility  of the Palestinian economy  and its  vulnerability to outside
influences,  the  need  to  develop  the  private  sector  and  the  special
situation of  Palestinian workers were  also matters which warranted special
attention.  He  described in detail the  contributions his country  had made
towards the various assistance programmes.

19.    The  representative of  Italy said  that  his country  attached great
importance to  the development of regions  and peoples  in the Mediterranean
area.   Italy had been participating  in projects  involving the Palestinian
health  sector,  particularly  in the  area  of  institution-building.   His
country  was prepared  to expand  those  cooperation activities  into  other
areas, based  on the needs  of the Palestinian  people.   Such efforts could
not but consolidate the peace process in the region.

20.   The representative  of Indonesia  stressed that  the current  economic
picture of  the West Bank and  Gaza Strip could  be characterized  as one of
dependence and  distortion.  Periodic closure  of the  territories, the drop
in aggregate demand as a result  of high unemployment rates and a lower than

expected inflow  of economic  aid had  all stood  as obstacles to  progress.
The speaker  stated that there was  a need for  reconstruction of the  human
and  physical infrastructure.  In order  to  spur economic  development, the
requisite   support   structures  and   pragmatic   policies  enabling   the
Palestinians to compete  effectively in external markets would be  required.
Economic ties with  neighbours had to be rebuilt while reducing the existing
imbalances  in certain  trade  relationships.   The  speaker underlined  the
imperative  need  for  donor  countries  to  fulfil  their  commitments  and
expressed confidence that  the efforts by the Palestinian Authority,  Israel
and  the donor countries  to help  to ensure the realization  of the various
assistance pledges would overcome the obstacles to development.

21.   The representative  of Spain  said that his country  would continue to
provide support  to the Palestinian  people in amounts  similar to  those it
had provided in  1994.  Attention  should be  paid to  the establishment  of
effective  administrative structures to ensure that the best use was made of
such assistance.   Spain attached importance to  the Seminar; the high level
of expert participation in it should result in a useful contribution.

22.  The  representative of Egypt  expressed the hope  that the  Palestinian
Authority and the Government  of Israel would, in  the next few  days, reach
an  accord on the  extension of  self-government in  the occupied territory,
setting the stage for the redeployment of Israeli forces and the holding  of
elections for the Palestinian Council in  accordance with the Declaration of
Principles.  The  reports  presented  by  the  World  Bank  and  the Special
Coordinator  in  the  Occupied  Territories  on  the  deterioration  of  the
economic and social conditions in the  occupied territory, in particular  in
the  Gaza Strip,  were  alarming and  challenged the  peace process.   Egypt
stood  ready to  work with  the  Palestinian  Authority, the  other regional
parties  and  the   international  community   to  bring   about  the   full
implementation of  the Declaration of  Principles.  Security  considerations
should  not overshadow the  needs and  aspirations of  the Palestinians with
respect to  a  political settlement  and  the  economic development  of  the
occupied territories.   The  sealing-off of  the territories  as a  security
measure  was a self-defeating  policy, both  from the  medium-term and long-
term point of view.

23.  The representative  of OIC read out a  message from Mr.  Hamid Algabid,
Secretary-General of the Organization, in which  he said that the attainment
of a  long-sought peace  in the  Middle East  needed support at  all levels,
especially in the economic and development area.  The long years of  Israeli
occupation  and the  practices followed  during its  duration had  led  to a
total  deterioration  of   the  economic  infrastructure  in  the   occupied
territory and the loss of  badly needed human resources.  As a guarantee  to
peace and security in  the region, it  was imperative for the  international
community to extend all  types of economic and  financial support and aid to
the  Palestinian Authority.   The Seventh  Islamic Summit,  held in December
1994 in  Casablanca, Morocco, had called  for support  for the international
programme  of economic,  social  and cultural  development  of  the occupied
territory  and  for  support  for  the  Palestinian  Authority.    OIC fully
supported  the peace process in  the Middle East  and the agreements reached
as part of that process.

24.   The representative of the  League of Arab States stressed  the need to
find solutions  to current problems, so  as to enable the Palestinian people
to  set  up  its  institutions,  rebuild   its  homeland  and  establish  an
independent State. During the last two  sessions of its Council,  the League
had adopted  resolutions related to  Palestinian development.   The  General
Secretariat of the League had included in its letters of agreement with  the
World  Bank paragraphs concerning the setting up of projects in the occupied
territory.   Also,  in  cooperation  with the  Geneva-based  Institution  de
cooperation  palestinienne, the Secretariat  of the  League was  preparing a
conference  aimed at  enhancing  research  on the  question  of  Palestinian
reconstruction and  development.   The General  Secretariat had  established
contacts with  a number of parties  concerned with a  view to providing  the
necessary support to the Palestinian people.

25.  The  representative of India,  Chairman of  the Group of 77  at UNESCO,
read out an extract on Palestine  from the Ministerial Declaration issued by
the Group on 30 September 1994, reaffirming its  support for the Palestinian
people as  it strived  to attain  its inalienable  rights.   The Group  also
reaffirmed the  permanent responsibility of the  United Nations towards  the
question of  Palestine and emphasized  the need for international assistance
to support  Palestinian  development  efforts  in the  economic  and  social
fields.  The  Ministers had reaffirmed their  support for the  peace process
initiated at  the Middle East  Peace Conference  in Madrid,  which aimed  at
achieving a comprehensive, just  and lasting peace in the Middle East  based
on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) of  19
March 1978 and the principle of land for peace.

26.   The  representative of  the  Department  for Development  Support  and
Management  Services of the  Secretariat said  that, in  response to General
Assembly  resolution 48/213  of 21 December  1993 and the  statement made by
the Secretary-General  at  an inter-agency  meeting  on  29 June  1994,  the
Department  had sent a reconnaissance  mission to the  Gaza Strip in January
1995.    The mission  had  prepared  two  reports,  one on  decentralization
services  and Palestinian  capacity-building, and  the other  on a programme
for developing the institutional capacity of  the Palestinian Authority.   A
comprehensive  programme,  based on  in-depth  assessment  of  needs,  could
include  the following  components: improvement  of the  government  policy-
making process; rationalization  of organizational structures of the  public
sector;  decentralization  and  district   administration  for  development;
improvement  of financial  performance and  policies; strengthening  of  the
human  resource  management  system/public personnel;  addressing management
training   needs;  encouraging   participation  by   women  in   management;
establishment  and  development   of  management  information  systems;  and
rationalization, modernization and consolidation of legislation.

27.  The  representative of ILO said that,  despite the developments in  the
peace process,  much remained  to be done  to provide and  ensure employment
opportunities for  Palestinian workers.   ILO  believed that  the employment
challenge  could be  met  only  by  the  adoption  and implementation  of  a
comprehensive and integrated  employment programme that would include  long-
term  strategies  and  short-term  measures addressing  some  of  the  worst
symptoms.   Six essential  components of such a  programme were (a) ensuring
the policy  environment and institutional  capacity for long-term  sustained
economic  growth; (b)  securing employment  opportunities outside  the  West
Bank and Gaza  Strip, particularly  as agreed  in the  Protocol on  Economic
Relations (see  A/49/645, annex)  between the  parties; (c) taking  measures
aimed at the improvement  of the environment for small enterprises; (d)  the
construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of much-needed  infrastructure;
(e) the creation of  an adequate and  comprehensive social safety net  aimed
at  protecting  unemployed  workers,  widows,  orphans,  the  sick  and  the
disabled;  and (f) the  priority need  for reform  and reformulation  of the
vocational training system.

28.   The representative  of UNHCR  read out a note  from the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees to  the Seminar.  Throughout the past several
decades, UNHCR, in cooperation with States concerned, the  Secretary-General
and  UNRWA,  had been  involved  in  dealing  with  the numerous  protection
problems  and  needs. Since  1987,  the  Executive  Committee  of UNHCR  had
continuously reaffirmed its concern, inter alia,  about the lack of adequate
protection  for  a  large  number  of   Palestinians.    In  recent   years,
particularly  in  the  aftermath  of  the   Persian  Gulf  War,  UNHCR   had
intensified its  efforts  to safeguard  the  principle  of family  unity  of
Palestinians  residing  outside the  mandate  area  of  UNRWA  and had  been
engaged in facilitating returns and family  reunions to countries of  former
residence or where  relatives had  taken lawful residence.   UNHCR would  in
future   continue  to  stand   ready  to   assume  fully   its  mandate  and
responsibilities and thus  contribute to stability and reconstruction  needs
within the limits  and modalities agreed  upon by the  parties involved  and
other States and bodies concerned.

29.   In his  statement, the  representative of  the United Nations  Special
Coordinator in the Occupied Territories said  that, since his appointment in
1994,  Mr. Terje  Rfd Larsen  had set  out to  meet the requirements  of the
first  implementation agreement.    That work  included  (a)  supporting the
ongoing activities  of the  United Nations  in the  occupied territory;  (b)
facilitating  development of public  works projects  in the  Gaza Strip; (c)
establishing  coordination mechanisms  on the  ground, in  cooperation  with
Member States, the Palestinian Authority and the  World Bank, to ensure  the
efficient and  effective disbursement of pledges  made at  the Conference to
Support   Middle  East  Peace;  and  (d)  coordinating  training  and  other
assistance for  incoming  Palestinian  police. The  speaker focused  on  the
various structures  set  up by  the  donors  for overseeing  the  assistance
effort, within  which the Office of  the Special  Coordinator was operating,
including  those established at the suggestion of the  United Nations at the
Ad Hoc Liaison Committee  meeting at Brussels in November 1994, for  example
the  Local  Aid Coordinating  Committee.   Also,  at the  suggestion of  the
United Nations, the Joint Liaison Committee  had been reorganized to include
the Palestinian  Authority as gavel  holder, Norway,  in its capacity  as Ad
Hoc Liaison Committee Chair,  the United Nations and the World Bank as joint
secretariat, and  the  United States  of  America,  the European  Union  and
Japan.   He emphasized that  the United Nations was playing  a major role in
the mechanisms set up by donors and  in influencing decisions of the  Ad Hoc
Liaison Committee.

 30.   In  his  statement, the  representative  of  UNCTAD  gave a  detailed
description of the  needs and challenges  facing the  Palestinian Authority,
such  as  the need  for  the  establishment  and  development of  functional
government  agencies at  the  central and  local levels,  the reform  of the
public  finance and  tax systems  and  the supply  and management  of public
utilities.   Full-fledged  programmes  of  technical  assistance had  to  be
developed to  address those needs.   Accordingly, UNCTAD  had formulated and
discussed  with  the  Palestinian  Authority  such  a  programme,  aimed  at
achieving   the  following   objectives:     strengthening   the  technical,
managerial and  information capacities of  Palestinian public- and  private-
sector institutions responsible for international trade and related  fields;
formulating  policy/strategy options  enabling the  various sectors  of  the
Palestinian economy  to exploit emerging  market opportunities  effectively;
enhancing and developing  the capacity  of the commodity producing  sectors;
assisting in  the infrastructure necessary for  the creation  of an adequate
and  efficient transport system; reforming the overall  legal and regulatory
framework,   along   with  institutional   capacities;   and   strengthening
Palestinian   technical    and   institutional   capacities   in   financial
intermediation, analysis and management of financial flows.

31.  The representative of  UNDP stated that,  over the past 15 years,  UNDP
had  been  supporting  municipal  and  village  councils  in  the  planning,
management,  operation   and  maintenance   of  large-scale   infrastructure
investments.  It had  been providing support to municipalities in the  water
and sanitation sectors, and  through its local  rural development  programme
had  also  supported   rural  infrastructure  investments.    It  had   also
facilitated  the upgrading  of nine  village councils  in the  West Bank and
Gaza Strip  to the  status of  municipality councils.   A new  dimension was
added to  the  work  of UNDP  with  the  establishment  of  the  Palestinian
Authority.   Through  a major  funding  contribution  by the  Government  of
Japan, UNDP was providing "emergency-type" start-up funding and  procurement
support  to 14  departments  of the  Palestinian Authority,  the Palestinian
Economic  Council  for   Development  and  Reconstruction,  the  Palestinian
Central Bureau  of Statistics  and other  bodies.   As part  of its  gender-
indevelopment programme, funded  through a contribution from the  Government
of Norway, UNDP was sponsoring leadership  and management training for women
professionals in  the Palestinian  Authority.   Another important  programme
was  the Transfer of  Knowledge Through  Expatriate Nationals.   The speaker
said that five areas of focus in  public administration development had been
provisionally  identified and  prioritized for  support, both from  UNDP and
from  other United Nations  system agencies  and donors:   (a) strengthening
the capacity  of the Palestinian  Authority to steer and  implement a public

administration  development   programme;   (b)   initiation  of   a   public
administration training programme  for civil servants; (c) clarification  of
the  roles  and  responsibilities  of  the  departments  of  the Palestinian
Authority;  (d)  strengthening  municipal  and  village  councils;  and  (e)
supporting the legal system.

32.   The  representative of  WHO  said that  his organization  had provided
fellowships  to  Palestinian  physicians,  helped  to  monitor  the   health
situation  in the  occupied territory  and  trained Palestinians  in  health
care.    During  the intifadah  years,  it  had  assisted  in  helping  non-
governmental organizations  dealing with the needs  of the injured.  WHO was
now involved in supporting the right of the Palestinians  to be in charge of
their  own health services.   The  Palestinian Authority  had to reconstruct
the  entire infrastructure,  including the  health services  infrastructure,
which  had  deteriorated  during  the  occupation.   The  relatively  modest
resources  needed to support  Palestinian needs  in the  health sector would
undoubtedly help  promote  the peace  process.    In coordination  with  the
United  Nations Special  Coordinator in  the Occupied  Territories, WHO  had
worked  most recently to  define a United  Nations health  care strategy for
the self-government areas.  The strategy  involved inputs from UNRWA,  UNDP,
the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF),  the World Food Programme (WFP)
and WHO.

33.  Mr.  Bishara A. Bahbah,  Associate Director,  Institute for Social  and
Economic  Policy  in  the  Middle  East,  Harvard  University, informed  the
Seminar of  the  University's involvement  in  providing  assistance to  the
Palestinian  people following a grant of one million dollars for the purpose
provided  by a United  States philanthropist.   A  fact-finding mission from
Harvard  had been  organized in  early 1994.   As  a result, a  programme of
technical assistance to the Palestinian  Authority had been developed, which
was subdivided  into three  main areas:   providing  Harvard consultants  to
work with the  finance, planning, health, education and tourism  departments
of the  Palestinian Authority;  training Palestinian  officials at  Harvard;
and   providing  expertise  on   the  organization   and  structure  of  the
Palestinian government.

C.  Round-table discussions

Round table  I:    The  Palestinian  Authority  - needs  and  challenges  of

34.   The  round  table  was moderated  by  Mr.  Shibley Telhami,  who  also
prepared the summary of the discussion.

35.  Mr. Ibrahim Al Daghma,  Chief, Legal Advice and Legislation Department,
Palestinian  Authority,  made  a  presentation  dealing  with the  issue  of
establishing  a  new legal  framework  in  the West  Bank  and  Gaza  Strip,
describing in detail the  functioning of the existing legal system.  He also
outlined  measures  needed  for  the  restoration  and  integration  of  the
judicial authorities of the  two areas.  Mr. Al  Daghma then focused  on the
concrete steps taken by the Palestinian Authority  with a view to rebuilding
the  legal   system.    These  steps  included  the  following:     (a)  the
establishment by the Palestinian Authority of  a new legislative body called
the Legal  Advice and Legislation Department;  (b) the  harmonization by the
Legal  Advice and  Legislation  Department of  the legislation  presently in
force  in the  West Bank  and Gaza  Strip;  (c)  the establishment  of legal
committees, composed  of judges, lawyers and  legal advisers,  for the study
of  and designing  a course  of action  on particular  types of  legislation
(e.g., company  law or land  law); and (d) a public  discussion of the bills
prepared and released  by the Legal Advice  and Legislation Department.  Mr.
Al  Daghma  expressed  the  view  that,  in  drafting  a  constitution,  the
Palestinian Authority would encounter two principal groups of obstacles  and
problems:  restrictions  by  Israel  of the  authority  of  the  Palestinian
judiciary, and material obstacles.

36.    Mr. Yair  Hirschfeld, Director-General  of  the Economic  Cooperation
Foundation and Senior Lecturer at the  University of Haifa, described,  from
an Israeli perspective, the setting that  affected the establishment of  the
Palestinian  Authority and the  Oslo peace  process.  In his  view, the Oslo
process  had created  major historic  change and had  resulted in  two major
achievements - the  decision by the  Israeli and the Palestinian  leaders to
negotiate  instead  of  fight   and  the  creation   of  the  self-governing
Palestinian  Authority, which  provided  the administrative  foundations and
the structure for a future Palestinian State.   The speaker said that  among
the  prevailing challenges for  the Palestinian  Authority were  the ones in
the  areas of  peacemaking, internal politics,  organization, socio-economic
development  and the  development of  a  Palestinian  legal system.   Having
summed up the challenges of the  emerging Palestinian administration in  the
various  fields of its  activity, Mr.  Hirschfeld put  forward the following
three conclusions:   (a) the achievements  of the  Palestinian Authority had
so far outweighed its failures; (b)  given the Palestinian hostility towards
Israel and the continuing Israeli occupation  of the Palestinian  territory,
there  was a  need for  a change  of  attitude and  the development  of  new
behaviour  patterns by  the Israelis  and  the  Palestinians alike;  and (c)
observing the challenges of Palestinian state-building, the Israelis  should
guard  their  own  legitimate  interests,  while  wishing  the  Palestinians
success in their effort.

37.    Mr.  Alfons  Calderon  Riera,  Assistant  Professor,  at  the Escuela
Superior de Administracion y Direccion de  Empresas in Barcelona, focused on
the  institutional  foundations  for  governance  as   it  applied  to   the
Palestinian  case. He  addressed the  questions of  management, both  public
sector  management  and public  management.   In discussing  the Palestinian
"state-building"  case,  Mr.  Calderon  explored  in  detail  the  following
points:    the  need  for  a  model  in  state-building;  the  importance of
transformational leadership and political  vision; the need  for social  and
grass-roots participation;  the building  of a specific  legal and  economic
framework; and  the importance of catalysts to accelerate the state-building
process.  Palestinians, in  his view, should take advantage of the fact that
they are creating a new Administration, not  just reforming an old one.   He
also emphasized that the above-mentioned five  points were a matter  related
to  institutional  development and  not  merely  a  question  of making  new
Palestinian organizations  work.  The  concept of institutional  development
was  more related to  governance than  to the  particulars of administrative

38.     In  his   presentation,  Mr.  Amin  Baidoun,   Director-General  for
International  Cooperation, Palestinian  Authority,  discussed the  issue of
institution-building  and  enhancing the  institutional  capability  of  the
Palestinian Authority.   He gave  a brief overview  of the  situation in the
occupied  territory prior to  the signing  of the  Declaration of Principles
and of  the changes that had taken  place since September 1993.  He stressed
that,  in   order  to  achieve  the   desired  goals   and  objectives,  the
Palestinians  would have to  address the  following issues:  (a) speeding up
the  process  of institution-building  so  that  responsibilities  could  be
properly defined  and executed;  (b) accelerating  the establishment of  the
legislative  mechanism   concurrently  with   the   political  process   and
negotiations;  (c)  establishing  a  coherent  and  systematic  approach  to
achieving the objectives since the ad hoc project  approach had proved to be
wasteful  and  ineffective;  (d)  establishing  a  mechanism  enabling   the
Palestinians  to rely  on their  own  resources  and mobilize  private, non-
governmental  and  public sectors  towards  achieving  the  objectives;  (e)
establishing  a  comprehensive  plan  and  a  set  of  economic  and  social
policies;  and  (f)  focusing  on  sectors  that  would  ensure  employment,
generate  hard  currency and  have  a potential  for  high growth  rate  and
productivity.    If  the  Palestinians  succeeded  in  achieving the  above-
mentioned objectives,  the  international community  as  a  whole and  donor
countries  and Israel, in  particular, would  have to  recognize their moral
responsibilities  and  fulfil  their  obligations  towards  the  Palestinian
people at the political, economic and financial levels.

39.    In the  discussion  that  ensued,  the  participants highlighted  the
significant  financial  and   resource  constraints  that  the   Palestinian
Authority was facing.  Even more  important were  the constraints  emanating
from  the Israeli  control of  the territories.   The  economic, social  and
human effects  of the continuous closures  of Gaza, parts  of the West  Bank
and East  Jerusalem were  emphasized. The  concept of  industrial parks  was
raised, stressing that major issues  of that concept remained unclear.  With
regard  to the institution-building  process, it  was said  that despite the
many daily  problems and  challenges, the  institutional development  should
not  be carried out  on an ad hoc basis, but  be seen in its local, regional
and national  dimensions, which required strategic  thinking and  vision.  A
major challenge remained the building of an effective legal system.

Round table II:  Laying the foundation for public financial management

40.  The  round table was moderated by Mr. Stephen B. Peterson, who prepared
a summary of the discussion.

41.  Mr. Fouad H. Beseiso, Governor  of the Palestinian Monetary  Authority,
made  a  presentation on  the  role of  the  public  sector  in facilitating
private  financial  investment  in  the  West  Bank  and  Gaza  Strip.    He
identified   the  following   prerequisites  needed   to  encourage  private
financial  investment:    the existence  of  an  infrastructure  that  could
support the  expected growth in the industrial base; government institution-
building   to  handle   development   projects;  an   adequate   legal   and
organizational  structure, providing investment guarantees  and security for
investors;  political   stability,   leading  to   economic  and   financial
stability; a well-developed banking system to  support the needs of  private
investors;  building   up  of   public  awareness   towards  investment   by
Palestinians  of  their  savings  in  a  form  other  than  foreign currency
holdings;  stability in  the currency  exchange rate;  and  price stability.
Pursuant to  the above-mentioned conditions,  the Palestinian Authority  has
already taken  some steps,  including the  establishment of the  Palestinian
Monetary Authority, and had  hired capable staff.   Mr. Beseiso discussed in
detail such issues as the need  for building the Palestinian infrastructure,
Palestinian  institutionbuilding,  the legal  framework,  the  role  of  the
Palestinian  Monetary   Authority,  the  role   of  savings  and   financial
institutions and the financial framework.

42.   Mr. Atef  Alawneh, Deputy  Head of  the Department  of Finance  of the
Palestinian  Authority, said  that  immediately  after the  signing  of  the
Declaration of  Principles, preparations had  begun for the establishment of
the  Department of Finance,  taking into  consideration its significance for
the Palestinian  economy.  These included  the establishment  of the Revenue
and Expenditure  Department and  other support  departments.   Also, in  the
course of  the formation of the  Palestinian Authority, steps  were taken to
guarantee  the  proper  administrative  and  technical  performance  of  the
Department  of Finance.  These measures  addressed the  general  expenditure
administration (e.g.,  budget  preparation  and  implementation,  accounting
systems,  auditing  and  accountability),  general  revenue   administration
(e.g.,  tax  administration, policies  and  education,  clearance  from  the
Israelis and from customs, value added tax  on imports and customs  policy).
In  its work,  the Department  was  striving  to achieve  accountability and
transparency.   The speaker also  gave a detailed  account of  the West Bank
and  Gaza Strip  Tax Administration, explaining measures  recommended by the
Department and action taken on those recommendations.

43.  In his  presentation, Mr. Stephen Peterson,  Research Associate at  the
Harvard  Institute  for  International  Development  of  Harvard University,
focused  on  the  development  of  an   efficient  revenue  system  for  the
Palestinian Authority.  He described  four major  constraints hampering  the
improvement of the revenue system:   the separation between  the tax offices
in the Gaza Strip,  Jericho and the West  Bank; continued dependency  on the
Government of  Israel for  tax information;  an attitude  that weakened  the
environment  for compliance;  and the  limited  experience  of staff  in tax
policy and  administration.   Mr. Peterson emphasized  that by far  the most

important of these constraints was the  poor environment for compliance,  to
which  the other  three constraints  contributed. He  highlighted areas that
addressed the  above-mentioned constraints:  management, compliance,  policy
and strategy.  While  the first three areas dealt with specific  constraints
that needed to be overcome, the area of strategy addressed ways of  managing
the reform process of the tax system.   Attention to strategy was especially
important for  the Palestinian  Authority,  as the  constraints were  great,
resources were  limited,  expectations were  high  and  the time  frame  was

44.   In her  presentation, Ms.  Muna Jawhary, an  economist and  consultant
working in London and  Jerusalem, dealt with the  issue of indirect taxation
in  the West  Bank and the Gaza  Strip with special emphasis  on customs and
value added tax revenues.  She  gave an overview of indirect taxation in the
West Bank  and the Gaza  Strip, stating that  there existed several  reasons
for  the low percentage  of revenue from Palestinians  in the gross domestic
product.   First, customs revenues in  the West Bank  were only expected  to
accrue to the Palestinian Authority in the second  half of 1995.   Secondly,
as  an  emerging  fiscal  department,  the  Department  of  Finance  of  the
Palestinian  Authority was  not expected  to  reach  its full  potential, in
terms of revenue collection and administration,  before some time.  Thirdly,
the revenue clearance agreed with Israel did  not appear to be fair,  as far
as the  Palestinians were  concerned. Ms. Jawhary  identified four  measures
needed to  reduce the  fiscal leakage  and/or increase  the revenues  of the
Department  of Finance:  (a) compensation to the  Palestinians by Israel for
the  price-raising  effect   of  its  protectionist  trade  regime   towards
Palestinian  consumer prices; (b)  application of  strict rules  of origin -
revenue clearance for the Palestinians by  Israel should include customs and
taxes on  goods imported from Israel  that were not  of Israeli origin;  (c)
negotiating a  revenue-sharing formula based  on the macroeconomic  approach
or  total trade flows,  rather than  the present  micro-economic approach or
individual  invoices;  and  (d)  in  connection  with  points  (a)  and (c),
negotiating with  Israel  on the  proper  coding  of goods  flowing  between
Israel and  the West  Bank and  the Gaza  Strip and redesigning  the unified
invoice so as to provide information on  the origin of goods sold  by Israel
to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 45.   In his presentation, Mr. Georges Capdeboscq, Counsellor in the French
National  Audit   Court,  spoke   on  verification   mechanisms  in   public
accounting.  He  said that a  dual system was  used in France.   Under  that
system, accountants were separated from persons  who approved accounts.   In
addition, public  accountants bore  personal financial  liability for  their
actions  and  policy  decisions.    The  audit  office  had  an  independent
jurisdiction, the audit account controlled the  regularity of operations and
financial  decisions  on  imposing  fines  were  deliberated  after  hearing
statements by the persons concerned.   He said that regional and territorial
chambers had  been established.   Those  chambers were  independent and  had
magistrates  who judged  accounts  and  could  also intervene  in  budgetary
controls.  There was  a central accounting office in the treasury and weekly
summaries were published  by the  treasury.  There  was daily monitoring  of
receipts.   Laws had been enacted  governing transparency  and regularity in
market procedures.    An  inter-ministerial  mission of  enquiry  on  public
markets had  been created.  Another  law involved  preventing corruption and
promoting the transparency of public life.

46.  Mr.  Gilles Johanet, Counsellor in the  French National Audit Court  in
Paris, spoke on the establishment of a social  security system.  His country
had made  mistakes  in building  its social  security  system  and he  could
therefore  speak of  errors, which  should not  be made  by the  Palestinian
authorities.    The  scope  of  application   of  social  security  must  be
considered.   It generally included accidents  in the  workplace, health and
age  risks,  unemployment  and  sickness.     He  discussed  the  issues  of
management  and financing  of  social  security.   Different  countries  had
different  solutions.  Autonomy of  the system was potentially  good, as the
State  had no  advantage in  managing social  security on  the front  lines.
However, with State management, the  control of expenditures was potentially

more effective.   In France, the  system of  checks was ensured by  an audit
office.   The management  of age risk  could be concentrated  in one  system
throughout the country.  Such concentrated  management was more viable  than
decentralized management.  On the question of financing, he said that  taxes
permitted better  control by  the State.   In  the Palestinian  territories,
there were restraints,  including a  high unemployment rate.   Also, it  was
necessary to anticipate demographic and sociological developments, with  the
aim  of  maximizing  the  usefulness  of  services.    For  example,  in the
management of old age, one must study and  consider the amount of  pensions,
the amount  of  contributions, the  duration  of  pension payments  and  the
duration of  contribution payments.   The  request for  health services  was
unlimited and the supply  of care was  not spontaneously adapted to  demand.
To manage costs, access  to health care must  take place through a physician
who was a coordinator, who centralized all medical data and who ensured  the
continuity of health  care.  A coding system must be established  to make it
possible  to distinguish between  pathologies in  order to control expenses.
Several such coding models existed.

47.  Mr.  Abdel Hamid  Bouab, Officer-in-Charge  of the  Public Finance  and
Enterprise Management Branch  of the Department  for Development Support and
Management  Services  of the  United  Nations  Secretariat, stressed  in his
presentation  the  need  to  implement  procedures  for  streamlined  public
expenditures and  to support  emergence of  a private  sector for  financial
sector  development.    It  was  important  to  develop  aid-management  and
accountability mechanisms  and to  have a  sufficient number  of Palestinian
policy  analysts,  economic managers  and  institutions.    In  the area  of
resource  mobilization,  there  was  a  need  for  revenue   administration.
Techniques  for public  expenditure rationalization must be  developed.  The
savings issue  and debt management  were also  part of the  public financial
management process.   An aid-management  and accountability  process must be
developed,  with   a  view  to   satisfying  domestic   and  donor   country
requirements.  Implementation of such measures  should promote the growth of
the economy.   The  growth of  the economy  would expand  the  tax base  and
facilitate improvement  of the  budgetary position.   That,  in turn,  might
enable the monetary  authorities to provide  increasing levels  of resources
in support  of private sector development,  domestic and foreign  investment
and further opening  of the economy.   An effective administration would  be
required to implement those programmes.

48.  The discussion touched on  some of the major areas  of public financial
management,  including  capital  markets,  budgeting,  public  accounts  and
revenue systems.   It became clear  that the  Palestinian Authority intended
to  develop a  very sophisticated  administrative  system  with a  very high
standard  of administrative  excellence.   This  was  mainly because  of the
academic  background  of   many  of  the  senior  administrators,  who   had
previously participated in building  many of the States  in the region.  The
slow  pace  of   change,  however,  had  led  to  considerable  frustration,
compounded by the deterioration of the economy and the living conditions  of
the  citizens.   Building  administrative capacity  had  to be  done in  the
context  of a  very fragile  economy.   Revenues had been  declining, border
closures had  caused severe economic dislocation and existing resources were
very  limited, the major constraint being  the lack of funds to pay a living
for the staff.  As a consequence, the  desired calibre of staff could not be
attracted.    Another  constraint  was  the  lack  of  experience  of staff,
especially   senior  staff,   who   had  been   excluded   from   meaningful
administrative   functions   during   the   occupation.      A   number   of
recommendations were  made:  regarding  value added  tax, comprehensive data
should be collected, public  accounts should be  established to  demonstrate
accountability  and   transparency  and  an   effective  and  reliable   tax
information  system was  required. The demand  for high standards  had to be
balanced with the need to develop rapidly a working administrative system.

Round  table   III:     Supporting  the  development   of  the   Palestinian
municipalities and public utilities

49.  The round table was  moderated by Mr. Francis Dubois, who also prepared

a summary of the discussion.

50.   Mr.  Mustafa  Abdel  Nabi  Natshe,  Mayor  of  Hebron,  spoke  in  his
presentation  about  the  need  for  support  for  the  development  of  the
Palestinian  municipalities  and   public  utilities.    He  described   the
infrastructure situation  in the occupied  territory, focusing on such areas
as  energy,  water  supply,  transportation,  sanitation  and  solid   waste
disposal.   Mr. Natshe  emphasized the need  to improve  the existing public
services  and infrastructure.   The  recovery  programme should  start  with
technical assistance  and studies  to build  a technical  capability and  an
institutional   framework  to   develop  rational  policies   and  efficient
investment  programmes.    Particular  attention  should  be  given  to  the
creation of analytical capacity  for the economic  and financial  evaluation
of investment  and operational  improvement priorities.   Also,  significant
funding  was  needed,  initially  to  carry  out  rehabilitation  work,  and
subsequently  to  expand  capacity  to  meet  demand.    Measures  to foster
effective provision of infrastructure services by local government  included
(a)  establishing  a  rational,  transparent,  legal  foundation  for  local
government  with an appropriate  degree of  local discretion  over issues of
local interest; (b)  implementing a more  appropriate assignment of revenues
providing greater local autonomy over user charges and local taxes; and  (c)
introducing more systematic and transparent criteria for allocating  capital
investment funding.

51.  In his presentation, Mr. Ghassan El-Shakah,  Mayor of Nablus, addressed
the problems  facing his  municipality, which  was  the largest  Palestinian
population  centre  with  some  150,000  inhabitants.    He  noted  that the
municipality currently  employed 1,200  persons in  the various  departments
and  divisions of  public  administration.   As  a  result of  28  years  of
occupation, the infrastructure of Nablus had  been virtually destroyed.  Mr.
El-Shakah  explained in  detail the  nature of  the town's  problems  in the
areas of water supply, power supply,  sanitation and the environment,  road,
public facilities  and housing  construction, education,  health and  health
services, and the labour  force and employment.   He stressed that the peace
process  had raised  hopes of  real  change,  buttressed by  undertakings to
assist the  Palestinian people in  its effort to  reconstruct what  had been
destroyed by years of  occupation and to revitalize the various branches  of
activity.    The donor  States,  however, had  yet  to deliver  the  pledged
assistance.   Mr.  El-Shakah  also appealed  to the  United Nations,  as the
leading international organization, to examine  the above-mentioned problems
and expedite the task of finding  solutions through the specialized agencies
and other organizations, the World Bank and the donor community.

52.   Mr. Atef  Alawneh, Deputy  Head of the  Department of  Finance of  the
Palestinian  Authority, made a  statement aimed  at filling the  gap left by
the two  speakers who  could not  be present.   He said  municipalities were
faced with  a number of  obstacles.  These  included limitations  imposed by
the old  laws, on  which the  town councils  were based,  lack of  financial
resources,  problems  with  urban  planning  and  political  factors,  which
resulted in the  continuation of military governors  in many towns over long
periods of time.  Town  councils should insist on receiving directly levies,
duties and  taxes  on  the  services they  provided.    There should  be  no
exemptions or subsidies for many families.  Problems also arose when  people
refused to pay taxes or levies on account of political arguments.   The town
councils should be able  to change local taxes  in order to obtain revenues.
The  Department of Finance  was prepared  to cooperate  with local councils,
but projects must be carried out on a commercial basis in order to  generate
revenues and  there must be  no exemptions  on local taxes and  dues.  There
were plans  for national  public utilities.   Expertise was  needed for  the
development  of   an  administrative   system  that   would  support   local
governments  and ongoing training  must be  provided.   Local elections must
take place immediately to fill the political void in many towns.

53.   Mr.  Hussein  Al-A'raj,  Deputy  Head  for  Local  Government  of  the
Palestinian Authority,  discussed in  his paper  the problems  faced by  the
local Palestinian organizations and put  forward a number of recommendations

in that regard.  He identified  the following problems:  (a)  the absence of
a  single governance  legislation  in the  Palestinian territories;  (b) the
inability of the local units  to undertake major  income-generating projects
of any use;  (c) the absence of elected  local councils in  a large majority
of population  centres, which  precluded any development  activity; (d)  the
urgent  need   to  restore  and   strengthen  relations  between  the  local
population and local councils; (e)  the lack of training  and development of
administrative and technical staff in local  organizations; (f) the need  to
create  conditions conducive to the  payment by citizens of  value added tax
to the municipalities; (g)  the negative effect caused  by the lack of local
councils and  years of occupation on  the condition of roads and residential
buildings;  (h) the  need  for  the local  councils to  express  their local
individuality  in dealing  with the  central  authorities;  (i) the  lack of
financial  resources and  of an  incentives system  in local  organizations,
preventing   them  from   hiring  qualified   administrators  and  executing
projects; and (j) the  need for the municipalities to reassume their role as
service providers,  leaving  the  political  and  leadership  roles  to  the
central  authority.   Given those  problems,  Mr.  Al-A'raj put  forward the
following  recommendations:   (a)  the  donor  community should  honour  its
commitments; (b) a Palestinian administration and management academy  should
be  established; (c)  an information  policy or  plan should  be adopted  to
strengthen  confidence between  citizens and  local units;  (d)  Palestinian
local legislation should  be adopted providing for council elections,  which
should follow the general elections; and  (e) local units should amend their
policy regarding the provision of services.

54.   Mr.  Sameer A.  Abu-Eisheh,  Dean,  Faculty of  Engineering,  Al-Najah
University, Nablus, addressed  in his paper the  issue of the development of
Palestinian  public utilities.   He described  the current  condition of the
public utilities,  including water,  electricity, sewage  systems and  solid
waste  treatment.  Constraints  on the  development of  the public utilities
included  the lack  of  a  development plan  and  institutional  structures,
limited administrative  and managerial skills of personnel, dependence, to a
large extent, on the Israeli systems,  the inadequate technical condition of
the  Palestinian systems and  limited financial  resources.   Mr. Abu-Eisheh
outlined development  strategies to be introduced  and implemented in  order
to remedy the overall  and sub-sectoral condition of public utilities.   The
overall sector development strategy  included establishing the institutional
frameworks  on the  various levels,  preparing  an overall  public utilities
plan,   drafting  the  proper  legislation,   establishing  educational  and
training programmes and promoting public and private investment towards  the
development of  the sector.   The  sub-sectoral development strategy  should
cover  such  areas  as  water,  electricity   and  sewage  and  solid  waste

55.  During the discussion, participants  stated their consensus with regard
to the need to reinforce Palestinian  municipalities and public utilities in
all  sectors,  in  particular  infrastructure,  health,  water  supply   and
sanitation, education, social services and culture.   Any progress in  those
areas  would increase support  by the  Palestinian population  for the peace
process.    It  was  stressed  that  particular  efforts  were  required  to
facilitate the immediate delivery  of technical and  financial assistance to
all public sectors, but especially to  the municipalities, villages and town
councils.   The positive  experience of  the Jordanian  Development Bank for
Villages and  Towns  for the  implementation  of  numerous projects  in  the
municipal  areas  should  be  taken into  account  while  developing similar
structures  in  the  Palestinian  territory.     The  Department   of  Local
Government  should be  strengthened.   Municipal  elections  should  not get
mixed  up  with  the forthcoming  elections  of  a  Palestinian  Legislative
Council;  however, in some  places a combination of  the two processes might
be feasible.

Round  table IV:    Human  resources development  and  management  -building
institutional capacity

56.  The round  table was moderated by Mr.  Robin Poppe, who also prepared a

summary of the discussion.

57.   Mr. Shibley  Telhami of  the Brookings  Institution, Washington, D.C.,
said  in his  presentation that  there was  substantial  underutilization of
human resources  in  the occupied  territory.    That situation  was  partly
attributable  to  political  factors  affecting the  Palestinian  Authority,
which faced  a number of constraints in the formation of  the police and for
the staffing  of  the  Department  of  Justice  and  the  Attorney-General's
office.  Significant  resource constraints included a lack of  laboratories,
computers and  scientists in the  criminal field, as  well as low  salaries.
There were also political and legal constraints.  Mr. Telhami felt that  use
should be made by the Palestinian Authority of  the skills and experience of
Palestinian non-governmental organizations.

58.  Mr. Bishara A. Bahbah, Associate Director  of the Institute for  Social
and  Economic Policy  in the Middle  East of Harvard  University, dealt with
the issue of building management potential  for human resource  development.
He identified the  challenges and problems facing the Palestinian  Authority
and  presented some  ideas on  what was  needed to  build a  proper base for
human resource  development. Mr.  Bahbah said  that among  the problems  and
challenges  were the following:  physical separation  of the  West Bank from
the  Gaza Strip;  low  salaries  of  the  Palestinian  Authority  employees;
understaffing  of  some  Palestinian  bodies;  inadequate  training  of  the
employees; the proliferation  of academics rather than experienced  managers
in top positions of  the Palestinian government;  political appointments for
high-level positions; the  need for reconciliation  of the  varying cultural
and professional backgrounds  in the emerging Palestinian institutions;  the
lack of coordination  among and within the  Palestinian bodies; and the need
for a better  coordination of  the wide-scale international consultancy  and
other  assistance.   Mr. Bahbah  also described  the  effort  by a  group at
Harvard University,  headed by  Mr. Courtney  Nelson, to  establish a  human
resource development unit within the Palestinian Authority.

59.   In his  presentation, Mr.  Musa D.  Ghosheh, General  Director of  the
Employees  Bureau  of the  West  Bank,  addressed  the issue  of  building a
Palestinian public personnel system  and structure.  He  said that the  law,
to  be applied  in the  Palestinian society,  should interact  with the  new
developments  which would  require  a strong  administrative  structure  for
human resources and  their development.  That objective could be achieved by
establishing  special task  forces in  order  to deal  with such  matters as
personnel  procedures,  employee  selection, processing  of  information and
administrative  statistics  and  to  carry  out  studies  to  determine  the
training needs.   Mr. Ghosheh  said that, in  the employment framework,  his
Office  suggested dividing jobs  into four  categories: a  senior jobs group
(deputies,  assistant  deputies   and  directors);  a  public  jobs   group,
comprised  of 10 grades;  a vocational  group (uneducated  labourers); and a
service  jobs  group (janitors  and  security  guards).    He explained  the
criteria to  be applied  in selecting employees  in those  categories.   The
speaker also described in  detail the general  guidelines currently  applied
in the Employees Bureau.

60.    In his  presentation, Mr.  Alain  Claisse,  Professor of  Public Law,
Universite de  Paris, said  that, in establishing  a state of  law and  good
governance, there  must be a consistent  strategy and  a realistic diagnosis
of  the situation  upon which to  base a plan of  action.  A  census must be
conducted to determine the  need in civil servants.  Training plans must  be
consistent and must take account of supply and  demand.  In addition,  there
should not  be a proliferation of  laws; a stock must  be taken of the  many
laws that  had been  applicable in  the past.  There must  be  a very  clear
division  of competence  among the  departments.  A  merit system  that will
encourage the staff to  work harder should be established. It was not enough
to focus training  efforts on senior officials at  the expense of lower  and
intermediate staff; apprenticeships could be used for unskilled workers.  

61.   Mr. George Jadoun, Technical  Programme Manager,  Training Focal Point
for Palestine  at the ILO International  Training Centre, Turin, said in his

presentation that  problems facing  the Palestinian  Authority included  the
absence of a  legal framework for  the Palestinian  civil service.   Another
problem  was  inadequate  funding  due  to   limited  tax  revenue  and  the
reluctance of donors to  disburse their contributions  directly through  the
Palestinian Authority.   In  addition, there  was a  shortage of  indigenous
administrative, managerial  and technical expertise  for the immediate  task
of  rehabilitating  infrastructure  and  stimulating  the  private   sector.
Training requirements  should focus on  capacity-building, with emphasis  on
management  and  policy-making functions  in  the  civil  service.   In  the
absence  of   an  overall  institutional   design  for  Palestinian   public
administration,  attempts at  setting  the Palestinian  civil  service  into
motion had  sometimes resulted  in duplication  of areas  of competence.   A
workshop could  be held  in the West  Bank to build  on the findings  of the
present  Seminar.   It  could develop  an  action  plan  for human  resource
development in the civil service.

62.  In  the discussion,  participants emphasized the  decisive role of  the
human factor  in building the Palestinian  Authority.   Concerted efforts of
the   Palestinians  in  charge   of  human  resources  development  and  the
international donor community  were required  to build the necessary  public
personnel structures.   The recruitment of  diaspora Palestinians  had to be
balanced by  the involvement  of Palestinians living  in the territory.   In
that   regard,   it   was   stressed   that   Palestinian   non-governmental
organizations provided  a reservoir  of knowledgeable  and highly  motivated
personnel.  Training capacities for all  levels of the administration should
be enhanced,  focusing at  the present stage  on the  training of  trainers,
thus  using  the  multiplicating  effects  of  such  an  approach.   Whereas
training  on  the  ground  should  be  given  priority,  courses  abroad, in
particular  for senior  administrators, should  bring together  managers  of
different countries to share their experience.   Priority should be given to
the promotion of the participation of women at all management levels.

 D.  Closing session

63.  In her statement, Mrs. Leila Shahid,  General Delegate of Palestine  to
France and  Permanent  Observer of  Palestine  to  UNESCO, said  that  human
resources development  and management would be  of great  importance for the
Palestinian  people in the years to come.  She stressed that the question of
Palestine was unique in terms of  decolonization and state-building.   There
was no other example in which state-building took place at the  same time as
negotiations on the  end of  the occupation were still  under way.  Most  of
the Palestinian participants at the Seminar came from areas that were  still
under military  rule, and most  of the matters discussed  during the meeting
could not be implemented in  the absence of total sovereignty.  Being one of
the last countries to  acquire independence, a lot could be learned from the
achievements of  others  in  the decolonization  process.   Human  resources
represented the  greatest resource of the  Palestinian people.   Its primary
need was  to build a strong,  efficient, light,  transparent and imaginative
national authority in  order to  overcome division.   Having a strategy  and
the  required leadership would  help both  the Palestinian  people and those
who wished to help them.

64.   The  Chairman of  the Committee  on  the  Exercise of  the Inalienable
Rights of  the Palestinian  People, in  his closing remarks,  said that  the
Committee  would continue  to act  primarily in  the international political
arena and address such fundamental issues  as the question of Jerusalem, the
settlements  and  refugees.  At  the  same  time,  the  Committee  had  felt
increasingly   the  necessity   to   make  a   contribution   to   promoting
international   assistance  for  reconstruction   and  development  and  for
strengthening  Palestinian   institutions   on   the   ground   during   the
transitional period.   The  Palestinians, despite  the promise  made in  the
Covenant  of the  League  of Nations,  had  not  yet  been able  to  achieve
independence.  He said that the  United Nations had permanent responsibility
towards the question of  Palestine until it was resolved in all its  aspects
in accordance with international legitimacy.   Meeting Palestinian  needs in

establishing  a viable and  effective administration  in the  area under the
Palestinian Authority was  an essential  stepping-stone in the struggle  for
self-determination.   Also, well-functioning  institutions of  government, a
developing  economy,  the  creation  of  employment  opportunities  and  the
effective provision of  social services were interrelated issues, which,  if
addressed  satisfactorily,  would provide  solid  foundations  for  the  new
stages of the peace process.   Responding to comments  made by participants,
the Chairman stated that the Committee  would consider appropriate follow-up
to the various recommendations made in the course of the Seminar.



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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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