UNCTAD's work on the economy of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) began in 1979, following UNCTAD resolution 109 (V), which requested the Secretary-General of UNCTAD to initiate studies as regards the Palestinian people in collaboration with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), representing the Palestinian people.
That work was intensified in 1985 with the establishment of the Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit (APPU), in accordance with UNCTAD resolution 146 (VI) , which requested the secretariat to set up a special economic unit to monitor and investigate policies of the Israeli occupation authorities and their impact on the living conditions of the Palestinian people.
This mandate was upheld by the General Assembly decision 47/455 of 1992, following UNCTAD VIII held in Cartagena, Colombia in 1992.
The secretariat's work was brought into the spotlight following the launching of the Israel-Palestine peace accords in 1993. This is especially as the secretariat's focus on identifying and capitalizing on promising opportunities for accelerating Palestinian economic growth.
In this context, and in close consultation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), representing the Palestinian people, UNCTAD initiated a programme of technical assistance in favour of the Palestinian people in 1995. The programme expanded UNCTAD's work to include an integrated, research-based technical assistance programme to support Palestinian economic development and institution building efforts.
The reorientation and expansion of the secretariat's work on the Palestinian economy was reaffirmed in the United Nations Medium-Term Plan (MTP) for the period 1998-2001, and the Bangkok Plan of Action adopted at UNCTAD X in 2000.
Since then, the programme has evolved to respond to the implications of the widespread economic crisis, resulting from the Israeli system of closure policy and movement restrictions imposed on the oPt.
The São Paulo Consensus, adopted at UNCTAD XI in 2004, welcomed UNCTAD's systemic approach and called upon the secretariat to intensify its programme of assistance to the Palestinian people, strengthened with adequate resources.
UNCTAD's mandate on assistance to the Palestinian people was further expanded under the Accra Accord, adopted at UNCTAD XII in 2008, to include a special emphasis on supporting Palestinian state-building efforts.