Egypt, Mauritania and Qatar renew support for UNRWA

09 December 2009

9 December 2009


UN truck

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) this week received pledges of financial support for its activities from the governments of Mauritania, Egypt and Qatar. The donations to UNRWA’s regular budget, of US$20,000, US$25,000 and US$50,000 respectively, followed an urgent appeal for help by the Agency to plug a US$0.5billion deficit in its annual budget.

The contributions reflect a marked increase in the support from each of the states compared with their donations to the Agency last year. The contribution by Mauritania marks a first for the country, which is listed by the UN as a "least developed country", and has an average GDP of approximately US$800 per head. The Qatari government upped its support by US$15,000 compared with last year, as did Egypt, currently chair of the advisory commission that oversees UNRWA’s activities.

The support, gratefully received by officials, are set to bolster the Agency’s core programmes and enable the delivery of essential services to a population of some 4.7 million Palestine refugees.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, 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 solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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