Saudi payment of $800,000 to UNRWA

27 October 2010

27 October 2010

Saudi payment of $800,000 to UNRWA

The Saudi Ambassador, HE Mr Fahad Al-Zaid, has presented UNRWA with a cheque for $800,000 representing the balance on the Kingdom’s annual payment for UNRWA’s regular programmes in 2010 of $2 million, which was announced last December.

Taking receipt of the cheque, Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General, thanked the Kingdom, noting that Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest funders of Agency construction projects – housing, schools etc, and also relief projects. At the same time he underlined the serious situation the Agency continues to face with funding for its regular programmes. He said: “The Agency is forecasting a year end deficit of $46 million. Unless it receives substantial additional funds the Agency may be forced to suspend operations in some of its facilities, which means closing schools, health centres and feeding centres.

“The outlook for 2011 is even worse, owing to the rising number of refugees needing assistance, especially in Gaza and the West Bank, and rising prices.”

Peter Ford stated that UNRWA was glad to be able to count on Saudi support in the context of the Kingdom’s chairmanship of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission of donors and countries hosting Palestinian refugees. “The end of year meeting of the Advisory Commission will be on 30 November at the Dead Sea. This will be an extremely important meeting at a difficult time for the Agency,” he said.

For further information please contact:

Peter Ford
Representative of UNRWA Commissioner-General
Office: 0096265808521

Sami Mshasha
Arabic Spokesperson
+972 542 168 295

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$ 69 million.

For more information, please contact: