Sweden’s Development Minister joins children of Gaza in UNRWA’s Summer Games

20 June 2011

20 June 2011
Gaza

Gunilla Carlsson at Summer GamesToday in Gaza, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Co-operation took part, quite literally, in the fifth Summer Games organised by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA. Ms Gunilla Carlsson visited the UNRWA girls’ school at Jabalia where she joined in the recreational activities, even dancing the traditional Palestinian Dabke. Her visit was hosted by UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi.

During six weeks of the summer, UNRWA provides recreational, sporting, cultural and educational activities for about a quarter of a million children, given them a sense of fun and normality in an environment which is anything but normal. This year, the children will attempt establish or break no less than four Guinness Book of World records including those for the largest number of people dribbling footballs and the largest number of people flying kites.

“Sweden was the third largest donor to UNRWA and the fourth largest donor to UNRWA’s General Fund in 2010. The General Fund provides cores services in education, health, relief and social services to as many as 4.8 million Palestine refugees. Already this year, Sweden has given USD 44 million to UNRWA’s General Fund. In addition to its core support to UNRWA, this year, Sweden has provided USD 8.6 million  to UNRWA’s  emergency activities in the West Bank and Gaza, supporting the Agency’s programmes aimed at addressing both the immediate and longer-term consequences of the conflict in these areas.

Ends

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 million.

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