Translation of the statement of the Foreign Ministry of Italy upon the appointment of Filippo Grandi as Commissioner-General of UNRWA

21 January 2010

20 January 2010

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has expressed his deep appreciation for the appointment - by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - of Filippo Grandi of Italy to a three-year tenure of the post of Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees In Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA was established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by the General Assembly of the United Nations and it is the only agency in the UN system exclusively devoted to assisting refugees who have fled from one specific area.

Through Grandi‘s appointment - stressed the Foreign Minister - Ban Ki-moon has given an important recognition to Italy‘s role in the Middle East and to its humanitarian work.

Beyond its sincere gratitude to Ban Ki-moon, the Foreign Ministry wishes to warmly congratulate one of our country‘s most brilliant international civil servants, who now crowns his career moving from Deputy Commissioner to Commissioner-General as successor to Karen AbuZayd of the United States.

Filippo Grandi has devoted with passion and commitment his professional life to international organizations engaged in humanitarian work. Before joining in 2005 the Agency which he will now lead, Grandi covered various assignments with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, carrying out important humanitarian work in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan - where he was also Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General with the UN mission - and in several African countries plagued by harsh conflicts.

Original

Viva soddisfazione è stata espressa dal Ministro degli esteri Franco Frattini per la nomina, da parte del Segretario Generale delle Nazioni Unite Ban Ki Moon, dell’italiano Filippo Grandi alla carica triennale di Commissario Generale dell’Agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per il soccorso e l’assistenza ai profughi palestinesi che vivono in Giordania, Libano, Siria, Cisgiordania e nella Striscia di Gaza.

La “UNRWA” è stata istituita a seguito della guerra arabo-israeliana nel 1948 dall’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, ed è l’unica Agenzia del sistema ONU che si dedica ad aiutare esclusivamente i profughi provenienti da una specifica area.

Con la nomina di Grandi - sottolinea il Ministro degli Esteri - Ban Ki Moon offre un riconoscimento importante al ruolo dell’Italia nella regione mediorientale ed alla nostra azione nel settore umanitario.

Oltre che la più sincera gratitudine a Ban Ki Moon, la Farnesina fa giungere oggi le felicitazioni ad uno dei più brillanti funzionari internazionali del nostro Paese, che corona la sua carriera passando da Vice Commissario a Commissario Generale dell’ UNRWA in sostituzione dell’americana Abu Zayd.

Filippo Grandi ha dedicato con passione ed impegno la sua vita professionale al servizio delle organizzazioni internazionali impegnate nel settore umanitario. Prima del suo ingresso, nel 2005, all’Agenzia che da oggi guiderà, Grandi ha ricoperto vari incarichi all’ Alto Commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i Rifugiati, che lo hanno portato a svolgere un’importante opera umanitaria in Siria, Turchia, Iraq, Afghanistan – dove è stato anche Vice-Rappresentante speciale del Segretario Generale per l‘Afghanistan alla missione ONU - ed in numerosi Paesi africani teatro di sanguinosi conflitti.
 

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

Donate
$100 PROVIDES A FAMILY WITH FUEL FOR 1 MONTH