Donor update: January 2012

06 December 2011

January 2012

Engaging Youth: Palestine refugees in a changing Middle East

UNRWA is organizing a staheholder event in Brussels from 19 to 20 March. Youth make up 50 per cent of Palestine refugees, and the event will bring together key players in development and humanitarian affairs to address the issues relevant to this often untapped constituency. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton, will be delivering the keynote address.

Visit the Engaging Youth website.

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Evaluation of UNRWA‘s Organisational Development

UNRWA’s Organisational Development (OD) process, a management reform programme spanning 2006 to 2009, was designed to improve the Agency’s management capacity so that it could serve Palestine refugees more effectively. Through this process, the Agency has improved its functioning in key areas: human resource management, organisational processes, leadership and management, and programme management.

With the encouragement of its stakeholders, the Agency commissioned a review of the OD process. This evaluation, completed in October 2011, concluded that UNRWA was able to achieve considerable improvement to its managerial systems, and as a result was better placed to serve Palestine refugees more effectively. The evaluation also provided useful criticism and advice, most notably a need for more focus on measurable results and better internal communication. UNRWA will be using the recommendations of the evaluation report to inform further management and programme reform.

Download the Organisational Development Evaluation (PDF).

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New Emergency Appeal launched

The 2012 Emergency Appeal was launched this month in Gaza. The appeal is organised around three strategic priorities: promoting food security through food aid and livelihood support; protecting refugees‘ rights and access to basic services; and strengthening emergency response capacity. Due to recent funding shortfalls and UNRWA‘s ongoing commitment to efficiency, this year‘s Appeal represents only the most urgent activities. As such, the total requirement of $300,724,896 is more than 20 per cent lower than last year.

Read about the Emergency Appeal.

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UNRWA reaches out to new donors

In 2011 UNRWA took concrete steps toward securing additional funding from countries outside of the "traditional" donor base. This emphasis will continue in the following years and is reflected in the Agency’s new Resource Mobilization Strategy (RMS). The RMS sets out a four-year plan to "Deepen", "Diversify", and "Develop". Through deepening the relationship with traditional donors, diversifying the donor base and developing Agency capacity to support and manage donor relationships, UNRWA aims to ensure stable and adequate income to support its operations, benefiting Palestine refugees. UNRWA will still rely heavily on traditional donors for funding, but through diversifying the donor base and targeted messaging, that reliance will be progressively lessened.

Download the Resource Mobilisation Strategy (PDF).
Download the Annexes (PDF).

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Reform of Relief and Social Services

UNRWA conservatively estimates that 1.2 million of the 5 million refugees it serves across the five fields are in absolute poverty, unable to meet basic food and non-food needs. More than 20 per cent of UNRWA refugees are poor. More disturbing, an estimated 700,000 refugees are abject poor; unable to meet even their basic food requirements. The objective of the RSS reforms is to enable the Agency to provide more services with greater positive impact to vulnerable refugees.

UNRWA, with the support of donors, has made considerable strides in its ability to identify and evaluate poverty within the refugee community. The Agency has also completed considerable groundwork to underwrite change. This includes an increased focus on development, economic empowerment and sustainable livelihood activities. The reform includes a gradual move to the "best practice" of cash transfers. Cash transfers will target food-insecure households through unconditional cash for people unable to work, job opportunities for those able to work, and conditional cash transfers to incentivise families to keep children in school.

While these reforms are underway, the current food program is in urgent need of support until other forms of assistance are available and being delivered.

Download the RSS strategy (PDF).

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Whistleblower protection

One of the responsibilities of the UNRWA Ethics Office created in 2009, is to protect staff and other personnel from being punished for reporting wrongdoing or for cooperating with an audit or investigation. Outside the UN context, this is commonly called "whistleblower protection".  By supporting staff who otherwise may be reluctant to come forward, UNRWA is able to become aware of and respond to misconduct, and thus maintain integrity and honesty in its operations and programmes.

To be protected when reporting a violation of UNRWA rules, one must report such violations through an established internal mechanism.  Employees seeking protection are assured of confidentiality, and the case will not be discussed with others without prior permission. Seeking help from the Ethics Office does not prevent employees from also applying for protection from other bodies created to uphold UNRWA rules, such as the UNRWA Dispute Tribunal.

If the Ethics Office determines that a staff member has been punished (retaliated against) for reporting a violation of UNRWA rules, it can recommend corrective action. As retaliation is itself a violation of UNRWA rules, the Ethics Office may also recommend that disciplinary action be taken against the retaliator.

For more information, please contact the Ethics Office at UNRWA Headquarters Amman:

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Partnership Division up and running

UNRWA is continuously strengthening the Agency’s alliances with a wide spectrum of partners at the international and local level, including non-governmental organisations, businesses, academic institutions, UN sister entities, and individuals. It remains a key priority for UNRWA to reach out to partners and explore ways of cooperation in the delivery of services and protection to refugees, to raise funds, and to share knowledge on best practice cases relevant to the Agency’s programmes.

UNRWA’s Partnership Division was recently established as part of the Agency’s Department of External Relations and Communications. The main objective is to build the Agency’s capacity to connect with non-government partners, to work in a more coherent and strategic manner with ongoing partnership activities, and to expand the partnership base. While government support will remain the main channel of resourcing the Agency’s programmes, it is envisaged that private partnerships will contribute a significant supplement for funding core activities.

Find out more about the Partnership Division.

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