Secretary-General to Co-Chair New York Meeting on UNRWA

23 September 2013
Secretary-General to Co-Chair New York Meeting on UNRWA

East Jerusalem

 
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon, and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr Nabil El Araby, will co-chair in New York on 26 September, in the margins of the UN General Assembly, a ministerial meeting on the funding difficulties of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Participants in the meeting will include members of the Arab League and a representative selection of UNRWA’s top donors including the US and the EU.

Before leaving for New York Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “This is an absolutely crucial meeting for UNRWA. We cannot sustain our services to refugees unless all donors step up a gear and back the Agency. We are $54 million short this year and next year will be worse. We are, in particular, looking to Arab donors to reaffirm and move forward on their engagement to achieve the 7.8% target for Arab government contributions to UNRWA's core budget previously set in Arab League resolutions.  In these present volatile conditions in the region it seems highly desirable to reinforce UNRWA as an important contributor to stability."

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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