UNRWA plants olive tree for head of OPEC Fund for International Development

15 July 2012

15 July 2012
Vienna, Austria

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has honoured Director-General Suleiman Al-Herbish of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) by planting an olive tree in Palestine in recognition of longstanding support for the UN agency.

Speaking on behalf of the Agency’s Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, Peter Ford said, “OFID has emerged as one of UNRWA’s most consistent supporters, and a true friend of suffering Palestine refugees. Our thanks go to the Director-General for having spearheaded this great effort.”

The recognition is a tribute to OFID’s generous support over the last few years for Palestine refugees in the areas of microfinance, job creation, building schools, food aid, and scholarships.

Accepting the award, Al-Herbish said that it was “OFID’s privilege to be able to offer Palestinians hope for the future.” He also conveyed his wish that OFID’s partnership with UNRWA would continue to bear fruit. “Working together”, he said, “we can make a real impact on people’s lives.”

The ceremony was attended by Ambassador Dr. Zuheir Elwazer from the Mission of Palestine to Austria and Robert Turner, the director of UNRWA operations in Gaza. Following the ceremony, the representatives reviewed current and potential co-operation in the future between OFID and UNRWA, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where the population continues to suffer as a result of severe restrictions imposed by Israel on exports and imports.

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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, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Ford
Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General
Mobile: +962 (0) 77 676 0062
Office: +962 (0) 65 80 8521
p.ford@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 confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact: