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