United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Executive Board

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1 ex United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Executive Board Hundred and fifty-second Session 152 EX/51 PARIS, 25 August 1997 Original: English Item 10.2 of the provisional agenda APPLICATION OF 151 EX/DECISION CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES SUMMARY In this document, the Director-General reports to the Executive Board on the measures he has taken to give effect to 151 EX/Decision and 28 C/Resolution The Executive Board, at its 151st session, adopted 151 EX/Decision in which it decided to include this item on the agenda of its 152nd session and invited the Director- General inter alia to continue his efforts in favour of the educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories and in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. 2. The Director-General during his official visit to the Palestinian Autonomous Territories on 24 and 25 May last, signed two documents with President Arafat on 24 May in Gaza. The first one concerned the second phase of the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (1997/1999) entitled Development for Peace, which is composed of 12 new project proposals recommended by the joint UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Co-ordination Committee at its last annual meeting (see annex). The second document concerned an agreement between UNESCO and the PLO for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority on the establishment of a UNESCO Liaison Office in Ramallah. This Office was officially inaugurated by the Director-General on 25 May 1997 in the presence of the Palestinian Minister of Education, and other Palestinian officials. 3. During his meeting with President Arafat in Gaza, the Director-General called for urgent action in favour of the Palestinian people and the peace process. He informed President Arafat that UNESCO will be among the first to give an example to start such an action by providing support for civic education and promoting values of tolerance, democracy, human rights and

2 152 EX/51 - page 2 peace. He said that the only solution for the present problems lies in peaceful coexistence and that isolation leads sooner or later to conflict. To inculcate these ideas in the minds of women and men, a UNESCO Chair in human rights, democracy and peace was established in An-Najah University and a special agreement was signed to this effect by the Director-General and the President of the University on 4 June Thus, UNESCO Chairs in favour of Palestinian universities have been increased in accordance with the decision of the Executive Board. 4. On 9 June, in the presence of Mrs Arafat, the Palestinian Minister of Culture, the President of the Pavillon de l Arsenal, Permanent Delegates to UNESCO, Members of the Executive Board, and cultural personalities, the Director-General inaugurated in Paris the Bethlehem 2000 roving photographic exhibition. On this occasion, he launched an appeal in favour of Bethlehem to finance the projects contained in the Emergency Action Plan, which was prepared by UNESCO, and whose objective is the restoration and development of Bethlehem and its surroundings so as to make this city of the nativity a lighthouse for humanity, a city of peace and prosperity, commensurate with our hopes. 5. UNESCO has exceptionally undertaken to furnish and equip, to a value of US $50,000, the offices of the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education. 6. At the end of June 1997, UNESCO sent a mission to the Palestinian Autonomous Territories in order to draw up a comprehensive project proposal on teacher training in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Education. After the approval of the proposal, it will be presented to the donor community for funding. 7. On 2 and 3 July 1997, UNESCO participated in the fourth inter-agency meeting organized by UNESCO in Gaza. Twenty-seven United Nations agencies and programmes participated. The World Bank and the Palestinian Authority were represented in this meeting. The aim of the meeting was to endorse a document entitled: United Nations Programme of Co-operation for in which UNESCO s PAPP projects were integrated. The meeting recommended that this document be integrated in the MOPIC Programme ( Ministry of Planning and International Co-operation) in order to be presented to the next consultative group meeting scheduled for October/November In implementation of paragraph 9 of 151 EX/Decision 3.2.1, preliminary meetings took place in Paris, then in Jerusalem, to prepare the Colloquium Granada II. The aim of this initiative is to accompany the peace process by the establishment of a sustaining and substantial dialogue amongst those who support the peace process (academics, intellectuals, economists, scientists, etc.) in the fields of competence of UNESCO. During its plenary session, the Colloquium is expected to set up three working groups (education, science, and culture), each with its own theme headed by a moderator, who will meet over a period of two years culminating in the bimillenary celebrations in On 20 July, a preparatory meeting between some 12 Israeli and 12 Palestinian academics took place in Jerusalem for an exchange of views and to make proposals and designate co-organizers. Granada II will be launched at the meeting to be held in Oslo (Norway), whose dates will be fixed according to the evolution of the present situation. 9. The problem of free access and circulation for Palestinian students from Gaza in order to join their universities in the West Bank is still unresolved and is becoming more dramatic after the bombing on 30 July in the market place in Jerusalem, which UNESCO severely condemned.

3 152 EX/51 - page Similarly, paragraph 10 of the Board s decision regarding the occupied Syrian Golan remains unimplemented because of the occupation. 11. From the 1997 regular programme 22 scholarships were granted in favour of Palestinian students (seven female and 15 male). Within the framework of the Sponsored Fellowship Programme, three scholarships (male students) were granted. One scholarship for capacitybuilding in educational policy-formulation and management for the Palestinian Educational Authority (financed by the Italian Government) was awarded to a Palestinian official from the Ministry of Education who will participate in the 1997/1998 International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) Annual Training Programme. 12. The Ministry of Education s Five-Year Plan is still in the process of being drawn up but as soon as it is ready, UNESCO will spare no efforts to support it and to find financing. 13. As to the establishment of a Palestinian museum in Bethlehem, UNESCO is waiting for the endorsement by the Palestinian Authority of the Emergency Action Plan in which this project is foreseen. 14. With regard to paragraph 9 of 151 EX/Decision for the creation of a Fund for higher education scholarships, a preliminary meeting between a Palestinian private sector organization, the Arab League and UNESCO took place at the beginning of September at UNESCO Headquarters and it is envisaged that its establishment will be announced during the twenty-ninth session of the General Conference. 15. In implementation of the different PAPP projects, the following activities took place: Education (a) (b) (c) (d) capacity-building for educational planning and budgeting for the Palestinian Authority (funds donated by Italy): two high-level seminars were organized in Ramallah and Gaza. Training materials were prepared and translated into Arabic for three national courses which took place between June and August 1997, one in Gaza and two in the West Bank; the implementation of projects for higher education through the PEACE Programme were accelerated thanks to the increase in the number of members of universities who joined the PEACE Programme (at present 81 members: 70 universities in Europe and North America, eight Palestinian universities and three collective members); a UNESCO Chair in archaeology is ongoing and foreign experts to teach at Al- Qods, An-Najar and Birzeit Universities are assured for the next semester Seven new scholarships for the academic year 1997/1998 and the renewal of six ongoing scholarships from the PEACE Programme have been approved; the implementation of the project concerning the elaboration of a strategy for rationalizing the development of higher education, funded by Norway, started last May: one contract was signed regarding legislation for higher education; and equipment and special training is being provided for the accreditation unit of the Ministry of Higher Education;

4 152 EX/51 - page 4 (e) the physical learning environment project was launched at the end of May 1997 and implementation started for a duration of 20 months; (f) (g) the kindergarten project, funded by Daimler Benz and Germany, can now accommodate 50 children and the Palestinian Ministry of Education considers that it is functioning well; the Saudi Arabian project for the rehabilitation of schools in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank: thanks to the efficient management of the project s funds, a saving of $240,000 from the original $2.5 million will be used to rehabilitate a secondary girls school in Bethlehem and the Directorate of Education in South Hebron. 16. Culture (i) (ii) An Emergency Action Plan for Bethlehem and its district, financed by Italy, was prepared and the draft was given officially to the Palestinian Authority for comments and amendments at the beginning of July. In August, a copy of the plan was given to the Italian Government for its comments. This document was prepared in a few months by a pluridisciplinary group of experts, composed of a majority of Palestinians, Italians and UNESCO staff. It deals with the following aspects: safeguard of cultural heritage, rehabilitation and revitalization of the urban make-up, infrastructures (transport, traffic, water, electricity, refuse, etc.), economy and tourism. The Plan of Action proposed about 80 projects to be submitted to potential donors once this document is approved. UNESCO is studying with the Palestinian Authority, the World Bank and UNDP the possibility of organizing a donors conference for Bethlehem in which this plan of action will be presented. The implementation of the restoration of the mosaics of Hisham Palace in Jericho, financed by Italy, started in May and co-operation was established between the department of archaeology of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism, and the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Another project, for the training of young Palestinians in the restoration of mosaics, financed by the Government of Norway, is under preparation and training is planned to start in October.

5 152 EX/51 Annex ANNEX UNESCO PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PROGRAMME OF ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE (PAPP) Phase II ( ) DEVELOPMENT FOR PEACE UNESCO and the Palestinian Authority, Considering that the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement signed on 13 September 1993 in Washington by the representative of the PLO and the Israeli Government, entitled Declaration of principles on interim self-government arrangements opened a new era of peace despite serious obstacles, Considering their commitment to the ideals of co-operation through education, science and culture and communication in order to further peace and mutual understanding between nations and peoples irrespective of race, culture, religion or tradition, Considering that UNESCO is the leading Specialized Agency in the fields of education, science, culture and communication within the United Nations system, Recalling that UNESCO, by establishing a Co-ordination Unit for Assistance to the Palestinian People and a joint UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Co-ordination Committee, created its own mechanism in order to contribute actively to the peace-building process and to fulfil its obligations within the framework of the United Nations co-ordination mechanisms, Considering that UNESCO s action in favour of the Palestinian people is of major importance and confers on the Organization an important role in peace-building and in culture of peace within the United Nations system, Express their sincere gratitude and thanks to Member States, especially France, Germany, Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Norway and Qatar, and to the private sector for their financial contributions to Phase I of UNESCO s PAPP projects ( ); Express their entire satisfaction to the members of the joint UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Co-ordination Committee for ensuring the efficient implementation of Phase I of the PAPP projects and thanks them for the 12 new project proposals recommended at their last meeting as Phase II ( ) of PAPP entitled Development for Peace ; Decide to endorse the new projects included in Phase II of the UNESCO/PAPP which are closely linked to the priorities of the Palestinian Public Investment Programme and will reinforce its activities;

6 152 EX/51 Annex - page 2 Invite the Member States, financial institutions, and the private sector to finance UNESCO/PAPP projects. Done at Gaza on 24 May 1997 Federico Mayor Director-General of UNESCO Yasser Arafat Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization President of the Palestinian Authority