Despite Critical Regional Circumstances ESCWA to Hold 22nd Ministerial Session


Beirut, 10 April 2003 (United Nations Information Service)--Under the patronage of the President of the Lebanese Republic, ministers and high-level decision-makers representing Member States of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) will convene at the UN House in Beirut for the 22nd Session of the Commission to be held from 14 to 17 April 2003.

Despite the critical situation in the Arab region, ESCWA 22nd Session, which will be opened at 10:00 am on Monday 14 April, is expected to gather a remarkable number of participants owing to the importance of the agenda items.

Strengthening Arab regional cooperation as well as the impact of lack of stability on the socio-economic developments in the ESCWA region will be among the main concerns of the Session.

In a further effort to achieve regional integration and cooperation, the Session will witness the ratification of the Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq. This agreement is an integral part of the development of the Integrated Transport System in the Arab Mashreq (ITSAM). The international road agreement was launched and ratified by ESCWA 21st Session held in Beirut in May 2001.

The Role of ESCWA in Supporting the Mandate of the United Nations; Strengthening Cooperation between Member States in the Field of Shared Water Resources; the Rehabilitation of Economic Sectors in Palestine; the Follow-up Action at the Regional Level to the United Nations International Conferences; and the Restructuring of ESCWA will be the main topics of discussions.

During the 22nd session and in the other subsequent sessions, a pledging conference to support and expand ESCWA programmed activities will also be conducted in order to solicit from ESCWA Member States extra budgetary contributions.

In order to further reinforce the presence of the Commission at the public level, the Session’s meetings will be open to the press. Such an arrangement is intended to ensure partnership with media institutions in a continuous and joint effort to achieve regional integration.

It is worth noting that ESCWA Ministerial Session is the Commission’s governing body, which sets its overall policy directives.

In addition to the Member States delegations, representatives of concerned United Nations agencies and programs, regional and international governmental and non-governmental organizations will also participate in the Session.

ESCWA is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. Its main mandate is to promote economic and social development through regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration. ESCWA is composed of thirteen Member States: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.