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 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:

Gaza Emergency 1