Sweden Contributes SEK 70 million for UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal

16 March 2009

16 March 2009

The Government of Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has contributed SEK 70 million (approximately US$ 8 million) to UNRWA in support of the UN Consolidated Appeal Process for occupied Palestinian territory in 2009. As with Sweden’s previous contributions, this contribution is "unearmarked", allowing greater flexibility and therefore facilitating improved efficiency and performance in the Agency’s delivery of services.

The Swedish contribution to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal comes in addition to the generous contribution of SEK 285 million (almost US$ 34 million) to the 2009 General Fund (UNRWA’s regular budget), donated earlier this year.

UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd, highlighted Sweden’s steadfast support for UNRWA and Palestine refugees at the Donors Meeting in Sharm el Sheikh on 2 March. Following her meeting with Ms. Gunilla Carlsson, the Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation, AbuZayd said, "Sweden is an important partner of UNRWA – a strong supporter in terms of financial assistance as well as engagement. Sweden sets a high standard of good donorship and its active support underscores its firm commitment to Palestine refugees."

Sweden is the Agency’s third largest donor and a member of the AdCom since 2005. In 2008, it contributed SEK 245.8 million (almost US$ 40million) to the General Fund in addition to SEK 65 million (US$ 10.9 million) for the Agency’s Emergency Appeals.

Sweden also supports the Agency’s Organizational Development process and part of its General Fund contribution is geared towards this comprehensive reform initiative.
    

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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