Commissioner-General to Visit Syria

17 May 2010


UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi will arrive in Damascus on 17 May to begin a four-day visit to Syria.

During his mission, Grandi will meet with Syrian government officials to provide an update on UNRWA’s financial crisis. Grandi is also scheduled to attend the annual UNRWA/UNHCR regional meeting. He will also open a new community centre built in Yarmouk with funds from the US government.

A highlight of Mr Grandi’s visit will be the fundraising concert by Marwan Abado, Palestinian singer and lute player at the Opera House on 18 May. The concert is being held under the patronage of HE Mrs Asma al-Assad, First Lady of the Syrian Arab Republic, in support of the UNRWA education programme and in commemoration of UNRWA at 60.

UNRWA provides education, health, relief and social services, and micro-credit services to over 470,000 refugees in Syria.

For information only. Not an official record

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:

Hala Mukhles
Public Information Officer - Syria Field Office
+ 963 (0) 940 88103
+ 963 (0) 940 88103