UN Secretary-General calls on international community to support UNRWA

12 July 2012

10 July 2012
Vienna, Austria

Noting the impasse in the Middle East peace process, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the United Nations and the League of Arab States (LAS) must together “create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.”

“The Palestinian Authority needs the continuing support of the international community for its commendable state-building efforts, including financial help to ensure the payment of salaries and delivery of services to the population”, Mr. Ban said, adding that both organisations must also ensure that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) receives the funds it needs to provide its vital assistance.

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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 more than US$ 106  million.

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