Report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people
(Agenda item 6)
- The representatives of five regional groups, 16 member States and two international organizations expressed appreciation of the report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people (TD/B/EX(68)/2), describing it as sound, insightful and excellent.
- The Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD highlighted the economic and fiscal constraints of occupation and the areas of unemployment, poverty and the environmental costs of occupation, as well as the drop in donor support. She stressed the need to secure additional resources, without which UNCTAD could not fulfil its mandates under the Nairobi Maafikiano (TD/519/Add.2) and General Assembly resolutions on the economic costs of occupation.
- The secretariat summarized the report and its recommendations and informed the Trade and Development Board that, for the first time in 20 years, UNCTAD staff members had not been granted an entry visa by Israel to access the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Additional resources were essential for the implementation of paragraph 55 (dd) of the Nairobi Maafikiano and the work on the economic costs of occupation for the Palestinian people mandated by General Assembly resolutions 69/20, 70/12, 71/20, 72/13 and 73/18.
- The representative of the State of Palestine expressed deep appreciation of the report and UNCTAD support to the Palestinian people. He shed light on the severe socioeconomic conditions and fiscal situation with Israel. Israel exploited Palestinian land, water and natural resources, while denying Palestinians the right to benefit from their own resources. He noted that peace and development were inseparable.
- All speakers echoed the report’s findings and warned against deteriorating conditions, violations of international law, decline in per capita income, poverty, high unemployment, food insecurity, dependence on Israel, barriers to movement, the blockade on Gaza and collapse of its economy, destruction of productive assets though occupation, annexation of Palestinian land and expansion of illegal settlements.
- Some delegates called on Israel to transfer to the Government of the State of Palestine its due fiscal revenues without the unjustified deduction of $11.5 million per month it had implemented since March 2019. They also called on donors to reverse the negative trend in donor aid.
- Some delegates concurred with the report that the Palestinian people should be able to finance development by exploiting their natural resources. They regretted denial of the Palestinian people’s right to exploit their oil and natural gas, which costs them billions of dollars.
- Some delegates expressed concern regarding the use of the West Bank as an environmental “sacrifice zone” by the occupying Power for dumping dangerous and hazardous waste and warned against environmental collapse in Gaza.
- Some delegates expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people and called for ending the occupation, for a two-State solution and for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem its capital.
- A majority of delegates expressed concern that paragraph 55 (dd) of the Nairobi Maafikiano, adopted by the consensus of member States, had not been fulfilled and urged adequate resources in that regard. The representative of one regional group stated that she would submit proposed agreed conclusions on the agenda item for consideration.