US Increases Support for UNRWA

25 April 2014

East Jerusalem 

The United States of America has made a generous new contribution of US$ 82 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), bringing the total U.S. contribution to UNRWA in 2014 alone to US$ 211 million.  These funds are of vital importance as the Agency continues its efforts to provide some 5 million Palestine refugees with support and assistance. The United States remains the largest bilateral UNRWA donor. 

The bulk of the new US contribution, US$ 45 million, will support vital UNRWA human-development programmes across its areas of operations, including the 700 schools that educate nearly half a million children. Even as the financial environment has grown more precarious, a young and growing refugee population has increased needs for education, health and social services, making US support invaluable for the Agency. This contribution brings the US contribution to the UNRWA General Fund to US$ 105 million for 2014.

The United States has also increased its support for UNRWA emergency programmes in the West Bank and Gaza to US$ 75 million, with a dedicated US$ 36 million from the recent contribution. Though the operating contexts are unique, Palestine refugees throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are facing emergency situations that require an additional, focused response from the international community. The contribution from the United States, which remains the largest and most consistent supporter of emergency needs in the West Bank and Gaza, will enable UNRWA efforts in food assistance, job creation and emergency health care, as well as other areas.

Thanking the United States for its crucial support, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: "UNRWA works with a uniquely vulnerable population in incredibly challenging situations. In such an environment, it is impossible to overstate the importance of the consistent and generous support the United States has offered." UNRWA is especially grateful for a contribution of US$ 1 million towards the Agency's efforts to provide relief to those Palestine refugees displaced from Nahr el-Bared camp, in Lebanon, in 2007, bringing total US support for Nahr el-Bared relief assistance to US$ 2 million in 2014.

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 US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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