ESCWA Press Releases 2003

17 April 2003
15 April 2003
14 April 2003
10 April 2003
3 April 2003

















ESCWA Twenty-Second Ministerial Session Reviews Executive Secretary's Report


Beirut, 15 April 2003 (United Nations Information Service) --The twenty-second ministerial session of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) resumed its deliberations for the second day at the United Nations House in Beirut.

Today's discussions reviewed the Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the Commission since the twenty-first ministerial session held in Beirut in May 2001.

ESCWA Executive Secretary Mervat Tallawy underlined the main achievements of the Commission, including the publication of 104 studies and reports; organizing 88 meetings and conferences; delegating 252 official missions as well as launching 15 vital projects. "In addition to the governmental technical committees, the Committee on Science, Technology and Technological Innovation was created," she said.

Tallawy added ESCWA studies covered the fields of Energy, Natural and Environmental Resources, Social Development, Sustainable Development and Productivity, Economics, Statistics, Globalization and Regional Integration.

After having cited the four axis of work at ESCWA, including enhancing Arab regional integration, following up at the regional level on the international conferences, providing advisory and technical cooperation, and implementing field projects in Member States, Tallawy underlined the importance of the Agreement on International Roads in the Arab Mashreq at the level of regional integration, and highlighted the most important regional preparations ESCWA had undertaken prior to world summits and international conferences such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Summit), the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization held in Doha (Qatar) in 2001, and the World Summit on the Information Society expected to be convened in Geneva in December 2003.

Speaking of ESCWA advisory services, Tallawy observed that Member States benefited from 226 services provided by the Commission during 2001-2002.

Concerning Palestine, Tallawy reminded the delegates that ESCWA continued to prepare an annual 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."

Then, ESCWA Chiefs of Divisions gave detailed reports on the most important achievements fulfilled by their teams since the twenty-first session.

It is worth noting that yesterday's deliberations started by a public roundtable on "the Impact of the Lack of Stability in the Western Asia Region on Economic and Social Development." The roundtable, which was chaired by Lebanese Defense Minister Khalil Hraoui, convened the heads of delegations as well as three prominent Lebanese political thinkers: former Minister of Finance and Economy Elias Saba, Fahmia Sharafeddine, Secretary-General of the Arab Association of Social Studies and Professor Hisham Shrabi, lecturer at several American and Lebanese universities.

Participants in the roundtable stressed the importance of enhancing the role of the United Nations and the League of Arab States. They also stressed the necessity of international legitimacy in order to achieve interaction with the civil society and enable it to contribute to decision-making.

Participants agreed on the fact that the lack of stability was the greatest obstacle facing development and that the problems of the Arab region were due to the domination over the region's resources. They stressed the necessity of activating the links between decision-makers and all social factions, including non-governmental organizations.

In addition to the Draft Program of Work and Priorities for the Biennium 2004-2005, the third day of the session will be discussing Strengthening the Arab Regional Cooperation and the Role of ESCWA in Coordinating Regional Activities of the United Nations.