UNRWA and Saudi Arabia Launch West Bank Projects

29 November 2013
UNRWA and Saudi Arabia Launch West Bank Projects

West Bank

On 26 November 2013, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held a ceremony launching a group of reconstruction projects funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its Saudi Fund for Development, at a total value of US$ 14 million. 

The ceremony was held at the UNRWA training centre in Ein el-Sultan camp, near Jericho. Felipe Sanchez, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, greeted media and attendees including Peter Ford, the Special Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General; Munir Manneh, UNRWA external relations officer; and other senior officials. Members of the local community also attended the event. 

Mr. Ford, speaking on behalf of Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, expressed his appreciation for the generous donation. He said: “This project represents a new development in the long-standing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and UNRWA on projects in the West Bank. It is further proof of the depth and the wide-ranging nature of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which was the third-largest UNRWA donor in 2013.” 

This programme, governed by an agreement signed on 26 May 2013, comprises a variety of projects, including the reconstruction of 180 housing units and the rehabilitation of 750 homes in Palestine refugee camps across the West Bank. This will greatly improve the living conditions of over 930 Palestine refugee families currently in dilapidated homes. Funds have also been allocated for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of three schools, as well as the Hebron Health Centre. The Saudi Fund-supported projects will conclude in November 2014, 18 months after the signing of the agreement. 

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724