Palestinian Authority’s declaration
on institutional renewal
London, 1 March 2005
The Palestinian Authority thanks the participants in the London Meeting for this opportunity to present our vision of institutional renewal and of state building. The state building process is crucial for the Palestinian people, in order to ensure a fruitful and effective negotiation process that would lead to the end of the occupation that began in 1967 and to facilitate the emergence of a sovereign, strong, independent, territorially contiguous state that would be economically, politically and socially viable. Such a process is particularly important for a nation emerging from a long and debilitating conflict situation, such as ours, and we hope that we have found the correct path towards such an emergence.
The Palestinians seek to strengthen Palestinian democratic institutions, including:
b) Public Sector and Civil Service reform
d) Basic Law/Constitution
e) Civil Society
To that end, the PA undertakes to address the following elements:
- To pass a new electoral law currently under discussion at the PLC.
- Bolster the legitimacy of government institutions by holding elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council on or around 17 July 2005.
- Complete the programme of rolling local elections across the West Bank and Gaza by the end of 2005.
b) Strengthening the Public Sector and Civil Service
- Implement a sustainable pension law following consultation with donors.
- Publish an amended Civil Service Law.
- Formally abolish State Security Courts.
- Approve and implement an amended Judicial Authority Law.
- Develop and implement a plan to construct and to administer court houses, police centers and prison facilities in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Produce clear procedures and regulations in relation to the selection, appointment, promotion and transfer of judges and prosecutors.
d) Basic Law/ Constitution
- The executive and legislative branches of the PA will continue to function in accordance with the Basic Law and other laws.
e) Civil Society
- Involve broader Palestinian civil society in shaping the reform agenda and monitoring its implementation through the National Reform Committee.
Our overall national security sector development and strategy is intended to create the conditions conducive to the peace process with the immediate objective of restoring internal law and order and preventing violence, among other objectives. To that end, the PA is undertaking to address the following elements:
a) Legal Framework
- To create empowered national security structures with clear reporting mechanisms to the civil authority, set out in a National Security Law.
b) Command Structures
- To support the Palestinian National Security Council, as the central body responsible for making policy and overseeing implementation of decisions consistent with Palestine’s national objectives and plans.
- The NSC will consider the appointment of a National Chief of Police to oversee all regional and municipal police chiefs in the West Bank and Gaza and to boost police presence on the streets.
- To encourage coordination and coherence within and across the various institutions in support of the Palestinian security architecture, including those relating to intelligence functions.
- To restore and revive lines of communication with the Israeli security establishment on security issues and will seek to strengthen them in the process.
- To continue the process of consolidating and unifying the security/intelligence services into 3 main branches, (Internal Security (Police, Preventive Security and Civil Defense), National Security Forces (Military and Border Guards, among others) and Intelligence. This will be done through the operational structures of the NSC.
- To ensure strict financial accountability of services, particularly on payroll and procurement.
- To ensure effective security implementation consistent with Palestine’s national security plan, especially those highlighted in Phase I of the Road Map and the mutual declaration of the ceasefire.
- To continue working with Palestine’s neighbors on issues of mutual interest, and to maintain strong coordination and cooperation.
We have identified opportunities for progress in the following areas:
a) Economic Governance
b) Stimulating private sector growth
c) Responding to Israeli withdrawals
All work and progress regarding strengthening the Palestinian Authority in terms of economic development will be in the context of and in furtherance of the outcomes, recommendations, “indicators” and commitments resulting from the AHLC process and an understanding of Palestinian needs. In addition, the MTDP should provide the framework for all monetary support from the international community. To that end, the PA undertakes to address the following elements:
a) Economic governance:
- Take further action to combat corruption, including increased transparency consistent with the fact that the PA has already signed up to the UN charter regarding corruption.
- Ensure tight control over the civil service wage in the 2005 budget.
- Implement further recommendations of the World Bank’s Country Financial Accountability Assessment especially on internal and external audit.
- Enact and implement a Unified Pensions Law to enable reduction of public sector wage bills and facilitate a civil service reform.
- Conduct a Public Expenditure Review followed by move to introduce performance / programme budgeting.
- Review the revenue transfer mechanism to local government with a view to improving its efficiency and equity.
b) Stimulating private sector growth:
- Develop and implement further the Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP) and ensure that its priorities are linked to budgetary objectives and poverty reduction.
- Improve legal conditions for private sector access to financial resources.
- Enhance the capacity of private sector associations.
- Simplify business procedures and establish a business friendly investment environment.
- Help to improve conditions to facilitate internal and external trade to the extent possible, noting, as set out by the World Bank, that the most significant hindrance to trade remains Israel’s closure system, the Wall and its associated regime, and the lack of a reliable and secure link between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Review and enhance the transparency of public procurement procedures.
Beyond the specific challenges of economic governance, broader conditions necessary in order to underpin a market economy:
- Make further legislative amendments to establish legal infrastructure for a stronger market economy.
- Design the judicial and security arrangements to create a more attractive investment environment.
c) Responding to Israeli withdrawals
- Create a dedicated PA administrative mechanism to handle the transfer, management, and disposal of evacuated settlement properties.
Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. xxxiv, no 4, Summer 2005.