UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary Bader Aldafa introduced yesterday, Monday 22 October, before the Second Committee of the General Assembly (Economic and Financial), the UN Secretary-General’s note transmitting the report on the “Economic and Social Repercussions of the Israeli Occupation on the Living Conditions of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab Population in the Occupied Syrian Golan”. Mr. Aldafa outlined the highlights of the report, including a call upon Israel to halt the erection of its barrier wall in and around East Jerusalem, and to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure that had compromised Palestinians’ rights to gain access to and benefit from their natural resources. Mr. Aldafa also underlined Israeli practices that damage environmental and socio-economic situations of the peoples of the above-mentioned regions, thus preventing them from attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and improving their living conditions. UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary said in his introduction of the report that Israeli practices exacerbated the hardship of Palestinians, and it was urgent to revive the peace process in the Middle East, thus finding a just solution for conflicts in the region, because the only real option to create better conditions for Palestinians resides in ending the Israeli occupation. It is worth noting that UN-ESCWA prepares this report yearly, as per the request of the UN Economic and Social Council as well as the General Assembly to the Secretary-General on this matter.
Mr. Aldafa, who is currently at the UN Headquarters in New York, is participating in several meetings. UN-ESCWA is to partake also, with other UN Regional Commissions, in the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), with the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), on 24 and 25 October, respectively.
The signing of the first MoU with the UNDP is bringing together the expertise of each party, to further promote and revitalize the development activities of the UN in developing countries. Concerned parties will thus share knowledge on development issues, each complementing the other’s work, to better service developing countries, in more efficient ways. As for the second MoU, with the CBD, it is intended to mainstream the objectives of the Convention and enhance cooperation between parties.
UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary spoke today, 24 October, at the roundtable on Financing for Development. He said that regional conflicts and political tensions impact development finance. They discourage foreign direct investment, cause capital flight, displace populations, and hinder overall growth and development. Aldafa added that in the era of globalization, developing countries are in need of greater technical cooperation, particularly with economic liberalization and the opening-up of markets. The Executive Secretary suggested that developing countries establish a mechanism for the most efficient means and ways for channeling workers’ remittances towards financing for development. He also recommended greater and systematic technical cooperation, particularly in developing capital markets, from countries of the North to developing countries. In addition, Aldafa noted that the developed world should provide training and technology for government officials as promised under the Monterrey Consensus.
Aldafa will make a presentation to the General Assembly’s Second Committee on “Promoting South-South Cooperation and Public-Private Partnership for Development” tomorrow, 25 October. Moreover, the UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary’s agenda includes several substantive meetings.