UNRWA plants olive tree for Turkish ambassador to UN

02 July 2012

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, presents the Turkish Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, H.E. Mr Ertuğrul Apakan, with a plaque as an expression of UNRWA‘s gratitude in recognition of his strong support for UNRWA and Palestine refugees.

The plaque represents an olive tree which has been planted in the West Bank in honour of Ambassador Apakan. Ambassador Apakan has been the Chair of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA for the past three years.

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