US Government Contributes $40 million to UNRWA

04 February 2010

4 February 2010


Filippo Grandi and US Consul General

At a signing ceremony in Dheisheh refugee camp today, US Consul General Daniel Rubinstein announced an initial US contribution of $40 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This contribution will support UNRWA‘s regular budget and emergency programmes in the West Bank and Gaza.   

The $40 million contribution will provide critical health, education, and humanitarian services to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees across the region. Of the total amount, $30 million will support UNRWA‘s core services, while $10 million will support UNRWA’s emergency appeal for the West Bank and Gaza, including emergency food assistance, job creation, and special health and education programmes designed to help children deal with the trauma of conflict. 

The Consul General noted the importance of providing robust and early contributions to UNRWA in light of the Agency‘s anticipated funding deficit for 2010. He also congratulated UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi of Italy and UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis on their recent appointments.

Commissioner-General Grandi thanked the US government for its $40 million contribution, saying: “We are immensely grateful to the United States government for its generous contribution. It is a fine example of the American commitment to supporting UNRWA and improving the daily lives of Palestine refugees throughout the region.”

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor. In 2009, the United States provided over $267 million to UNRWA, including $116.2 million to its General Fund, $119.5 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programmes, $30 million to emergency programmes in Lebanon, and $2.2 million to assist other Palestinians in the region.


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.

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