Iraq donates $2 million for Palestine refugees

29 July 2011

29 July 2011

UNRWA has received a contribution of US$ 2 million from the Government of Iraq towards the Agency’s core programmes.

Iraq’s resumed contribution to the Agency comes at a time when UNRWA is facing a chronic deficit in its core budget to provide services such as health, education and relief to the over 4.8 million registered refugees under UNRWA’s care.

Welcoming the contribution, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Mr Filippo Grandi said: “We are delighted to receive this donation from the Government of Iraq, a valuable contributor to the Agency in the past. The resumption of annual payments to the Agency comes at a particular time of need for both the Agency and the refugees, and we look forward to deepening this reestablishment of cooperation between UNRWA and the Republic of Iraq.”

Iraq had previously been a steady supporter to the Agency, contributing in the region of US$ 12 million over the course of the 1980s. The new contribution puts Iraq among the top Arab donors to UNRWA‘s regular annual budget.

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.

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