Commissioner-General makes first official visit to Luxembourg

13 December 2010

East Jerusalem

Commissioner-General and Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Credit: Cour grand-ducaleFilippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), made his first official visit to Luxembourg on 8 December. During his visit Mr Grandi met with the Minister of Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Madame Marie-Josée Jacobs, for discussions on Luxembourg’s support to UNRWA and the situation in the Agency’s areas of operation.

During their first meeting they underlined the importance of the strong and enduring partnership between Luxembourg and UNRWA in working effectively together to improve the conditions of Palestine refugees throughout the region.

The Commissioner-General also met with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Paul Duhr, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr Laurent Mosar and was honoured by being granted an audience with His Royal Highness, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

The Commissioner-General and Minister Jacobs signed a funding agreement for an additional contribution of EUR 1.5 million which will contribute directly to the delivery of UNRWA’s health programme in the occupied Palestinian territory. This will bring the total amount of Luxembourg’s contributions in 2010 to EUR 4.25 million.

Luxembourg’s contributions have increased steadily over the years and it is now one of UNRWA’s most consistent donors, supporting UNRWA‘s core activities in the fields of health and education, as well as microfinance projects. With this latest contribution, the Grand Duchy has surpassed the threshold required to be eligible to join UNRWA’s 23 member Advisory Commission.

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 more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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