University and French universities 28th - Launch of the Human Development Report, Palestine 1998-1999 at Birzeit University.

Today saw the launching of the Human Development Report, Palestine 1998-1999 at Birzeit University. The opening conference was addressed by the President of Birzeit University, Hanna Nasir, Nabeel Qassees, Minister of Bethlehem 2000 and representative of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Timothy Rothermel, director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mohammed Gadeyeh, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, and Nader Sa'id, team leader of the project and director of the Development Studies Programme at Birzeit University.

The report is the culmination of work by non-governmental organizations, representatives of political parties, representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the Development Studies Programme at Birzeit University. The report aims to present a comprehensive vision of the basics necessary for moving Palestinian society towards a modern state.

Among the recommendations of the report are the following:

  • There is a necessary link between the achievement of human development and the completion of the Palestinian national project. The desired development is emancipatory, based on the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state, and their right to development along with other rights safeguarded by international law.
  • It is important that the process of institution building is based on the recognition of ideological and social diversity and pluralism so that all sectors of society would benefit from development.
  • A bold step must be taken in order to establish suitable and effective mechanisms that integrate marginalized groups in the development process. At the time being, neither do these groups benefit from the fruits of development nor do their capabilities get integrated into the development process. Therefore, it is important to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and to integrate them, along with other social groups, in the development process. Also, the strategic interests of Palestinian refugees and residents of camps must be taken into consideration in planning for development.
  • Despite Palestinian society's important achievements, there are real concerns about the possibility of the decline in the development situation, especially regarding human development indicators. Therefore, a balanced effort must be directed towards economic and social policies, with a focus on adequately providing for education, health, and other social programs.

The report used human development indicators to present an analysis of three sides of the development process in Palestinian society - Palestinian Authority institutions, the private sector, and civil society organizations. It relied upon data collected from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as studies and surveys conducted by the Development Studies Program at Birzeit University. A large number of committees and experts supervised the preparation of the report.

Among indicators discussed and presented in the report are economic, employment, education, health, demographic and gender indicators. These are presented on an aggregate basis, as well as on a regional basis.