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 funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees and deepening poverty. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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