Luxembourg commits €15 million to UNRWA over four years

08 February 2012

8 February 2012
Jerusalem

Luxembourg today announced a multi-year financial commitment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), increasing its annual contribution to the Agency’s core work through the General Fund to € 3.75 million until 2015, which represents an annual progression of some 36 per cent.

The multi-year agreement was signed during a ceremony at the Kalandia Training Centre by Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Marie-Josée Jacobs and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi. The total four-year contribution of € 15 million will help the Agency sustain its human development programmes for nearly five million Palestine refugees, including education for 500,000 children and primary health service to refugees in 138 health facilities throughout the Middle East.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Jacobs said: “UNRWA, which continues its remarkable and still indispensable service to five million Palestinian refugees, is Luxembourg’s main partner when it comes to assisting the Palestinian people.

“In order to strengthen our longstanding and trusted partnership even further, Luxembourg has decided to sign a multi-year agreement with UNRWA, thus providing the Agency with even more predictable and flexible funding both to UNRWA’s general budget and to its priority programmes in the field, including health services and microfinance projects.”

Welcoming the contribution, Commissioner-General Grandi said: “At a time of increasing political and economic uncertainty – in the region and globally – Luxembourg’s increasing commitment to our work is welcome reassurance.

“This four-year agreement will allow us to plan our programmes in the medium term and sends a valuable signal to other donors that we need multi-year commitments to help ensure greater coherence for our programmes in the long term.”

The signing ceremony took place during a visit by Luxembourg delegates to UNRWA facilities in the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as a Bedouin community in Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank.

As one of the Agency’s most consistent donors, Luxembourg supports UNRWA‘s core human development activities, especially in the field of health. In 2011, Luxembourg contributed € 2.75 million to the General Fund. In addition, Luxembourg donated € 1.25 million for the Agency’s “Long and Healthy Lives” health programme. In December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly invited Luxembourg to become a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission.

UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, primary health care, poverty alleviation for the poorest of the poor, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance, and emergency and humanitarian response, including in times of armed conflict.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Anne Masotti
Spokesperson for Minister Jacobs
+352 621 17 33 54
anne.masotti@mae.etat.lu

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:

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