Belgium Donates EUR 18.75 Million to UNRWA

18 May 2015

Jerusalem

Belgium has announced a new contribution of EUR 18.75 million spanning 2015-2017 that will help UNRWA provide essential health, education, relief, social services and emergency relief assistance for Palestine refugees.  The generous donation will help improve the lives of Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and provide UNRWA a degree of sustainability in aid delivery. 

This is the first multi-year contribution from Belgium to UNRWA. Multi-year agreements provide valued stability in an environment of financial and political uncertainty.                                                 

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “We are deeply grateful to Belgium, a longstanding partner of UNRWA, for the contribution. In an extremely challenging environment, it will allow us to continue providing core human development and emergency relief to vulnerable Palestine refugees. Such support allows us to keep our schools open and hospitals running for communities who may otherwise find themselves unable to access these essential services”.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo said, “Belgium makes a part of its humanitarian aid budget available to international aid organizations such as UNRWA in the form of ‘core contributions’ that are not assigned to any particular humanitarian crisis. This approach gives these organizations a level of predictability in access to funds and the flexibility to respond immediately to humanitarian needs and emergencies.”

Throughout 2015 and beyond, continuing support from donors such as the Belgian government will be essential to ensure that Palestine refugees are able to enjoy a degree of stability and dignity in turbulent times. Belgium is a member of the Advisory Commission since 1953. 

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

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