UN Day in Brussels: Showcasing how the EU and UNRWA work together for the benefit of five million Palestine refugees

22 October 2012

22 October 2012
Brussels, Belgium

Over 5,000 people participated in a celebration of United Nations Day in Brussels on Sunday, ahead of its official date on 24 October. The work of the UN in peace, security, human rights and development was showcased through different activities involving the public under the main theme of “participation”. The activities took place at the “UN Village” in the Grand Place in Brussels.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), responsible for human development and humanitarian assistance programmes for Palestine refugees in the Near East, participated in the event that highlighted to Belgians, the European Union (EU), and the international public the crucial role of the EU and UNRWA in supporting Palestine refugees. The activities included awareness-raising games for children and adults and other activities that encouraged participants to learn more about the situation of Palestine refugees, the work of UNRWA, and EU support to the Agency.

Background information

The European Union has been UNRWA’s largest multilateral donor since 1971, contributing annually to UNRWA‘s core programming budget and underpinning the Agency‘s ability to provide essential services to Palestine refugees residing in West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. In the last 11 years, the EU has provided over EUR 1.3 billion in support of UNRWA’s work.

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, microfinance and emergency assistance. 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. In 2012, the initial budgeted GF cash deficit was USD 75 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha, UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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.

For more information, please contact:

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