Norway contributes 11 million kroner for Restoring Dignity in Lebanon

23 February 2012

22 February 2012
Beirut, Lebanon

Norway announced today a new donation of NOK 11 million (USD 2 million) for Restoring Dignity, a fundraising appeal for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon.

The ceremony was held today at UNRWA’s Lebanon Field Office, attended by H.E. Mr. Svein Aass, the Norwegian ambassador to Lebanon, H.E. Ambassador Abdel Majid Qassir, president of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, H.E. Ambassador Ashraf Dabbour, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Palestine in Lebanon, UNRWA’s Lebanon Director Salvatore Lombardo, and a number of representatives of the Nahr el-Bared community.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi launched the appeal on 28 September 2011, requesting approximately USD 147 million over a five-year period, until 2016.

The appeal aims to carry out relief and recovery activities for vulnerable Palestine refugees throughout Lebanon, raising funds for special projects as well as core funding to sustain the Agency’s education, health, and poverty alleviation programmes.

In order to fund its activities in 2012, UNRWA has requested USD 41 million to support Palestine refugees in Lebanon. This figure includes funds needed for relief activities in Nahr el-Bared Camp, which amount to USD 15.7 million.

While some pledges have already been received, the Agency remains in urgent need of securing USD 10 million in the first half of 2012.

On this occasion, the Norwegian ambassador in Lebanon said: “The contribution from Norway signifies the importance we place on the situation of Palestine refugees. They face a number of hardships here in Lebanon, many of which are due to their lack of social and economic rights. The rebuilding of their homes, schools, and reconstruction of the community in Nahr el-Bared is essential in order to re-establish the Palestine refugees’ livelihoods. Support for UNRWA in this challenging work is important so they can continue to provide essential services to Palestine refugees living in and around the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp.”

As a longstanding donor to UNRWA, Norway contributed a total of NOK 300 million (USD 53 million) to UNRWA’s General Fund in 2011 and 2012. In addition, Norway contributed NOK 25.5 million (USD 4.5 million) to UNRWA projects in Lebanon.

Thanking Norway for it contribution, Ambassador Qassir said, “Lebanon is thankful for what you are doing to help Palestinians living within its territory. We are doing the best we can, but with our limited resources we cannot address the catastrophic and devastating results of this political and international issue.”

In his address to the participants, Ambassador Dabbour said, “The Palestinian people are not only refugees, but are people with potentials, creativity, and authentic heritage. Palestinians hold onto the right of return to their homeland in Palestine and reject any alternatives to it, including their resettlement or displacement.”

Thanking Norway, UNRWA’s Lombardo said, “Norway continues to be one of the strongest supporters and donors to the Nahr el-Bared project. This donation is even more important than previous ones, as it comes at a critical time for the displaced families in the refugee camp.”

UNRWA continues to seek additional funding to implement projects in the areas of infrastructure, health care, education, employment, and relief services for all Palestine refugees living in camps throughout Lebanon.

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For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA public information officer in Lebanon: +961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail: h.samra@unrwa.org

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.

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