UNRWA Commissioner-General Visits Syria

23 April 2009

UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd will be visiting Syria on 25-29 April and will hold meetings with senior Syrian Government officials to brief them on the latest developments taking place in UNRWA.

Ms. AbuZayd will take this opportunity to express the Agency‘s appreciation for the Syrian Government‘s support and the Syrian people solidarity for the Gaza Campaign launched by UNRWA early January 2009.

On 26 April, AbuZayd will join the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Theodoros Kassimis, in laying the foundation stone of a new school in Husseinieh, Damascus. She will also award certificates to staff members and beneficiaries of the Agency‘s Microfinance and Microcredit Department.

AbuZayd will address media representatives on the amount collected so far by UNRWA and the Syrian Government in support of the people in Gaza.

Afterwards she will inaugurate the European Commission-funded girls‘ dormitory at UNRWA‘s Damascus Training Centre, as part of the Centre’s Open Day activities. In the evening, Ms AbuZayd will attend a musical performance by UNRWA Nimreen Orchestra and al-Farah Choir at al-Hamra Theater in support of “For the Children of Gaza” Campaign.

Before returning to Amman on April 29, AbuZayd will inaugurate two milestone projects of the Agency in Syria, a health centre in Khan Eshieh Camp, built with funds from the US Government and the completion of the sewage project in Khan Dannoun Camp, funded by the European Commission. Later on the day, she will participate in the launch of the Musicanto Project at Nimreen Music Centre in Yarmouk, organized by the Agency in coordination with the Italian Cooperation Office.

For information only .  Not an official record.

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:

Hala Mukhles
Public Information Officer - Syria Field Office
+ 963 (0) 940 88103
+ 963 (0) 940 88103