On 31 March and 1 April, H.E. Ambassador Tanin participated in a United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People at the United Nations Office in Vienna. The Seminar focused on speeding up relief, recovery, and reconstruction in post-war Gaza and was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, upon which Ambassador Tanin serves as Vice-Chairman. Participants at the Seminar included representatives of the United Nations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, experts and civil society members.
At the Seminar, participants reviewed humanitarian and development needs in the Gaza strip and Gaza’s housing, fuel, power, environmental and water crises, which intensified in the wake of the war of 2014. After the war 100,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed, and power cuts of up to 18 hours a day were common.
At the Seminar’s outset, Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations office at Vienna read out a message on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He expressed concern at the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza and the suffering of the people there.“ Tens of thousands of Gazans — men, women, children and the elderly — are still living in temporary shelters or United Nations facilities because their homes have not yet been rebuilt. The dangers are underscored by the fact that, during the winter storms in January, four children died due to inadequate housing,” he said.
Ambassador Tanin chaired segments of the Seminar including Plenary I on the immediate and longer-term humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip and parts of Plenary II on looking ahead: prioritizing reconstruction tasks plenary meetings. The Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, delivered a statement on behalf of the government of Afghanistan at Plenary I on 31 March 2015. “The situation in Gaza is a core issue,” he said “We note with great concern the critical humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip”. Ambassador Erfani continued by expressing Afghanistan’s support to all international efforts in Gaza and for the Palestinian people.
Representatives of other countries and experts also delivered statements and engaged in dialogue on topics such as resolving Gaza’s critical water crisis, rehabilitation and development of Gaza’s infrastructure and strengthening cooperation by all parties to provide relief, promote reconstruction, and reignite development. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Fode Seck Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN, closed the meeting by emphasizing, “the people of Gaza need our continued support, now more than ever”. He called on international donors to honor their pledges so that Gaza can be rebuilt, “this time for good”.