Statement by Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, before the Second Regular Session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 4 April 1995:

Mr. President,

I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation and thanks of my delegation to you and to the members of the Executive Board of the UNDP, as well as to the Administrator of UNDP, Mr. James Speth, the Director of the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP), Mr. Timothy Rothermel and to Mr. Wattez, whose recent appointment as the Special Representative of the Administrator we warmly welcome. We wish him a successful stay in Palestine, and we look forward to working with him. Finally, at this time we also wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to Mr. Roger Guarda, the departing Special Representative, for the excellent work he has done for the programme during his tenure. We wish him much success in his new post.

Mr. President,

The PAPP has proved to be an important source for fast and meaningful assistance for the Palestinian people in the past year. This has been a period in which the Palestinian National Authority has had to face a growing number of challenges and responsibilities, coupled with the overall, extremely difficult economic situation prevailing as a result of the many years of occupation. The situation is one requiring quick reaction and responses from the donor community.

In this respect, we truly appreciate the special role being played by the United Nations agencies, which, in rapid response to the urgent needs arising from the current situation, have initiated various, effective programs and projects, particularly the UNDP and UNRWA. Further, we would like also to express our appreciation with regard to the establishment of the post of the "Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories" for the purpose of coordinating a unified approach among United Nations agencies undertaking projects for economic and social development in the Occupied Territory and other forms of assistance to the Palestinian people. The role being played by the Special Coordinator in this regard, as well as his role as a focal point for the donor community, are both quite necessary and useful.

We agree with the strategy of PAPP, which has set out four broad objectives, particularly with regard to the support of economic development and the strengthening of public administration. In this regard, we call for the initiation of projects that help create job opportunities, strengthen the capacity-building and employ Palestinian institutions to execute these projects. It is our hope that the donor community will continue to use PAPP to channel their pledged assistance to the Palestinian people.

Mr. President,

The slow pace that has characterized the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and the continued delays by Israel in fulfilling its contractual obligations arising from that and other subsequent agreements have not created an atmosphere conducive for the economic and social development of the Palestinian people. Also, Israel is still applying policies associated or linked with its brutal occupation, including the continued closure of the occupied territory from the rest of the world for long periods of time, the isolation of Jerusalem, the continuing illegal settlement activities and the delay in implementing the provisions of the economic agreements between the PLO and Israel. All of this has resulted in devastating repercussions on an already weak and tattered economy and increasing problems for the Palestinian National Authority, which has been challenged with a very difficult situation from the start. In this regard, we take this opportunity to call upon the international community to correct this situation in order to put the peace process back on track and also to redouble efforts to provide fast assistance to the Palestinian National Authority.

Mr. President,

We believe that the work of PAPP is important for the Palestinian people and it deserves to receive the necessary support from both the Executive Board and the donor community. At this time, we would like to express our commitment to continue cooperating with the UNDP in this endeavor. This cooperation is, of course, formally based on the "Agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)", which was concluded by the parties on 9 May 1994.

Before concluding, Mr. President, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank the donor countries which have been supporting the work of the programme, particularly Japan, Italy, the United States and Norway, and to ask all donors to increase their support during this critical year. Thank you, Mr. President.