Australia and UNRWA sign AUD 90 million agreement

29 May 2012

29 May 2012
East Jerusalem

Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi signed a nearly AUD 90 million (USD 90 million) partnership agreement in support of UNRWA‘s core programmes throughout the Middle East over the course of the next five years.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Canberra, Grandi said, "Australia is a good example of a donor increasing its overall long-term contribution to UNRWA in a way that is sustainable and predictable. This agreement demonstrates the principles of good donorship and is an example that I hope will be replicated by others.

"The five-year agreement with Australia provides steadfast financial support in a difficult global economic climate. Australia‘s backing over the next years will help UNRWA provide education to refugee children throughout the region, as well as health and relief services."

Australia was the 10th largest donor to UNRWA in 2011, with an annual contribution to the Agency’s core programme of around USD 15 million. The new agreement will result in a progressive increase of this amount up to USD 20 million per year.

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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, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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:

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