UNRWA Commissioner-General Thanks Saudi Arabia for Support

07 March 2014
UNRWA Commissioner-General Thanks Saudi Arabia for Support


The Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi, visited Riyadh on 3 March in a final visit before leaving his post with UNRWA to thank officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Kingdom’s generous and consistent support for the Agency during his tenure.

Mr. Grandi, who will be leaving the Agency at the end of March, expressed gratitude for a series of important donations which in 2011 and 2013 made the Kingdom the third largest contributor to UNRWA.  Donations in 2013 worth US$ 151 million, delivered mainly through the Saudi Fund for Development, allowed UNRWA to fund vital education, health care, housing and infrastructure projects which improve the lives of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in Lebanon, and alleviate the suffering of Palestinians trapped in Syria.

Mr. Grandi said: “I am extremely grateful to King Abdullah, the government and the people of Saudi Arabia for the extensive and sustained support which the Kingdom has extended to UNRWA over the years and particularly during the last five years. During those five years the Kingdom pledged US$ 271,643,206. Contributions on this scale have made an enormous difference to the lives of many thousands of Palestinian refugees.  I would like to express particular appreciation for the role played by the Saudi Fund for Development in delivering Saudi assistance.  Our partnership with the Fund is absolutely exemplary.”

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.

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