In light of EU HR/VP Ashton's visit, the EU contributes €2 million to UNRWA’s Summer Games and the Agency’s Organizational Development

18 July 2010

            

Gaza
18 July 2010

The European Union has today announced a contribution of €2 million to support the largest ever youth initiative in Gaza - Summer Games – and to support UNRWA’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) - a crucial tool to modernise the Agency.

Catherine Ashton, the EU‘s High Representative and Vice President of the European Union and John Ging UNRWA’s Director in Gaza signed the agreement at an UNRWA School in Gaza City where Baroness Ashton saw first hand the Summer Games and was briefed on UNRWA’s Summer Learning programme which provides two months of intensive remedial education for 40,000 children who failed their end of semester exams.

One million euros of the EU donation will support the 1,200 summer camps run by UNRWA over a course of eight weeks accommodating 250,000 children. Ms. Ashton toured one of the camps, where the children presented Ms Ashton with a kite they will fly in her honour at their upcoming Guinness World Record attempt on 29 July. Baroness Ashton stated, “I am very glad to see that UNRWA‘s summer camps give to the children of Gaza the much-needed opportunity to acquire concrete creative skills and built the necessary coping mechanisms and self-esteem for a more stable future”.

Expressing appreciation for the generous and timely funding support, John Ging stated, “Baroness Ashton’s second visit to Gaza in less than four months and the additional funding she provided today are invaluable for our joint efforts to bring about the positive development of the next generation of Palestinians who are otherwise in danger of becoming a lost generation.”

The European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. Over the period 2000 to 2009, the EU alone, excluding EU member states, has provided more than €1 billion of support to the Agency.

 

For more information on the EU‘s assistance to the
occupied Palestinian territory:
Antonia Zafeiri, + 972 (0)54 802 4915

For more information on UNRWA:
Chris Gunness, +97 2(0)54 240 2659

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 US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact: