United States contributes $55 million to UNRWA

04 January 2012

3 January 2012
Washington, DC
US Government Contributes US$55 Mil to UNRWA for Palestinian RefugeesThe United States is pleased to announce an initial 2012 contribution of $55 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The $55 million contribution will provide critical health, education, and humanitarian services to five million Palestinian refugees in the region. Of this contribution, $29 million will support UNRWA’s core services in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza; $24 million will support UNRWA’s emergency programs in the West Bank and Gaza; and two million will support UNRWA’s ongoing relief assistance in Lebanon for those displaced during the 2007 conflict in Nahr al Bared refugee camp.

As UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, the United States recognizes the critical role the Agency plays in assisting Palestinian refugees and maintaining regional stability and calls upon other donors to enhance their support for UNRWA. The United States encourages UNRWA to maintain the neutrality of its operations, expand its donor base, enhance its strategic communications, and maximize programmatic efficiencies in order to better serve refugees.

In 2011, the United States provided just under $250 million to UNRWA, including $146 million to its General Fund, $75 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programs, $15 million to emergency programs in Lebanon, and $10 million for the construction of five new schools in Gaza, which will serve an estimated 10,000 schoolchildren.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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