United States pledges additional USD 10 million to support UNRWA

26 March 2012

26 March 2012
Brussels, Belgium

Ronan Farrow, Special Advisor on Global Youth to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced at UNRWA’s “Engaging Youth” conference an additional contribution of USD 10 million to the Agency’s General Fund, which brings the United States government’s total contribution to UNRWA thus far in 2012 to USD 65 million.  The conference was held on 19-20 March in Brussels.

Contributions to the General Fund are a critical means of supporting UNRWA’s work with Palestine refugees, particularly youth. Sixty per cent of UNRWA’s General Fund budget is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the over 480,000 children who attend UNRWA schools.

Mr. Farrow called on UNRWA to give young Palestine refugees a seat at the table in discussing UNRWA’s critical programmes and initiatives. He highlighted the importance of education as a tool to empower youth as they prepare to enter the job market and to be a force for positive change.

Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr. Filippo Grandi, expressed his gratitude for the crucial support extended by the United States. "I‘m heartened that this donation came during such an important conference. The United States remains UNRWA‘s largest bilateral donor  and this latest contribution again demonstrates America‘s strong support to the Agency and its activities, of which improving the lives of Palestinian refugee youth, and the opportunities open to them, is such an important part.”

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, and is a consistent supporter of both the General Fund and programmes targeted more specifically to address the needs of Palestine refugee youth.

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Background information

UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, social safety-net, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by contributions from States. The Agency’s core budget for 2012-2013 stands at USD 1.33 billion. In 2012, emergency appeals for the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon amounted to USD 344.0 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$ 69 million.

For more information, please contact:

Gaza Emergency 1
US$ 30 GIVES COUNSELLING TO A TRAUMATISED CHILD