26 April 2006

UN Seminar on Assistance to Palestinian People to Be Held in Cairo, 26 - 27 April

NEW YORK, 25 April (Department of Political Affairs) -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene a United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Cairo on 26 and 27 April.  The theme of the Seminar is "International efforts at alleviating the Palestinian economic and humanitarian crisis".

The Seminar will assess the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and discuss the support of the United Nations and the international donor community extended to the Palestinian people.

Invited to the Seminar are international experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Member and observer States, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, civil society organizations, the academic community, as well as the media.

The opening session will start on Wednesday, 26 April, at 10 a.m. in conference room "Conrad" on the ground floor of the Hotel.  Statements will be made by Naela Gabr, Egypt's Assistant Minister for Multilateral Relations; Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee; and Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Legislative Council Member and representative of Palestine.  This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies will be invited to make statements.

The opening session will be followed by a keynote presentation by Nabil Sha'ath on the theme of the Seminar.  Two plenary sessions will be held starting in the afternoon of Wednesday, 26 April.  Each plenary will have a discussion period.

Plenary session I, under the theme "The scope of the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory", will begin in the afternoon of Wednesday, 26 April, at 3 p.m.  The session will assess the main characteristics of the crisis and the living conditions of the Palestinian people; the facts on the ground compounding the crisis; and the modalities for rehabilitating and stabilizing the Palestinian economy.  Speakers include Hanna Siniora, Chairman, Palestinian-European Chamber of Commerce, and Publisher, The Jerusalem Times; Gershon Baskin, Director, Israel-Palestine Centre for Research and Information, Jerusalem; Hani Nigim, Professor, Birzeit University, Birzeit; Roby Nathanson, Chairman, Israeli Institute for Economic and Social Research, Tel Aviv; and Mohammed El-Samhouri, professor of economics, Gaza.

Plenary session II, entitled "The United Nations and international donor community's support of the Palestinian people", will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 April.  During the session, experts and participants will discuss programmes of assistance of the United Nations system; the need for intensified donor assistance; and coordination of international assistance.  Speakers include Anders Fange, Director of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) operations in the West Bank; Mahmoud Elkhafif, First Economic Affairs Officer, Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva; Ambrogio Manenti, Head of the West Bank and Gaza Office, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, World Health Organization (WHO), Gaza; Francine Pickup, Head of the Research and Analysis Unit, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jerusalem; Juliette Touma, Media and Communications Officer, Advocacy Unit, OCHA, Jerusalem; Rana Zakout, Senior Coordination Officer, United Nations Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Gaza; and Khaled Mansour, Senior Regional Information Officer/Spokesman, Regional Bureau for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, World Food Programme (WFP), Cairo.

The closing session of the Seminar will take place on Thursday, 27 April, at 3 p.m.  The report of the Seminar will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

The official languages of the Seminar will be Arabic, English and French.  Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in the three languages.

Participants and observers, including the representatives of the media, are requested to register and obtain photo badges prior to entering the conference room.

Registration will start on Wednesday, 26 April, at 8:30 a.m., in the foyer to the Conrad conference room.

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