Saudi Arabia contributes US$600,000 to UNRWA

03 April 2009

Amman- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made a contribution of US$ 600,000 to the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In a ceremony held this morning at the Saudi Embassy in Amman, the Representative of Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr. Peter Ford, received a cheque for the contribution from the Saudi Ambassador in Amman, H. E. Mr. Fahed Al-Zeid. The amount will be used to fund UNRWA‘s core activities of education, health care, relief and social services the Agency provided for the refugees.

In addition to regular annual contributions, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has over the last decade contributed generously to Agency projects - particularly under the Saudi Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian people, through which more than $50 million has been pledged to UNRWA projects in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Expressing UNRWA‘s appreciation for the new contribution, Mr. Ford said: "We highly value the support given to UNRWA over the years by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As the Agency faces the severe challenges of funding its regular activities on behalf of over 4.5 million refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, as well as relief and reconstruction in Gaza and rebuilding Nahr El Bared Camp in Lebanon, it will be very much counting on the Kingdom, with its GCC partners, to help it shoulder these burdens. "

The Agency’s regular budget for 2009 is approximately $560 million, and the Agency faces a shortfall of $49 million.
 

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$ 68.2 million.

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