Brazil contributes US$ 960,000 and announces a further donation of US$ 7.5 million to UNRWA

15 December 2011

15 December 2011

Brazil donates $7.5 millionBrazil has announced a new pledge of US$ 7.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an unprecedented contribution from the Latin American country to the Agency.

The Brazilian announcement was delivered at a ceremony today in Gaza between the Brazilian Representative to the Palestinian National Authority, Ambassador Ligia Maria Scherer, and UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi. The ceremony was held to mark another important Brazilian contribution to UNRWA of over US$ 960,000 in support of much-needed food distribution and educational materials in Gaza. This builds on Brazil’s contribution from last year of US$ 200,000.

These important contributions will make Brazil one of UNRWA’s most significant donors and will help the Agency meet the rising needs of the refugee population it serves.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Ligia Maria Scherer, Representative of Brazil to the Palestinian National Authority said: “Brazil is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. We believe in this connection that UNRWA´s mission is essential in addressing the needs of Palestinian refugees, due to its presence on the ground and specific mandate within the UN system. The international acknowledgement and the local appreciation of the Agency’s work bear witness to its vital role. Strengthening UNRWA is critical to help the Palestinian people, and Brazil therefore has been seeking to increase its financial support to the Agency.”

In thanking Brazil for its generous gesture, Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi said: “I am thrilled that Brazil, a country with growing global influence – a country of the future – has decided on such a sizable contribution in support of UNRWA for one of the most disadvantaged populations in the Middle East – the Palestine refugees. Not only will it provide help directly to the people in need, but it also demonstrates that the refugees remain of global concern and continue to receive support from the entire international community.”

The ceremony took place at the UNRWA Rimal Preparatory Girls School and was attended by students, the parents’ council, and a group of Brazilian nationals living in Gaza.

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For more information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724

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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact: