US Will Contribute $60 Million to UNRWA

22 June 2010

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
18 June 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that the United States will be making an additional contribution of $60.3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support UNRWA’s core budget and special projects in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

The $60.3 million contribution will provide critical services, including health, to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees. Of this contribution, $5.7 million will support nine special projects, including reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools in Jordan, Syria and the West Bank, an after-school programme for refugee children in Lebanon, and a referral system to help refugees facing gender-based violence.

UNRWA currently faces a shortfall of $161 million, including $91 million for core expenses such as salaries for teachers educating nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugee children across the region.

With this contribution, the US will have provided more than $225 million to UNRWA in 2010, including $120 million to its General Fund, $75 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programmes, $20 million to emergency programmes in Lebanon, and $10 million for the construction of five new schools in Gaza.

The US commitment to the welfare of the Palestinian people was further underscored by the President’s 9 June announcement that the United States will move forward with $400 million to increase access to clean drinking water, create jobs, build schools, and address critical housing and infrastructure needs in the West Bank and Gaza. As UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, the US. recognises the critical role UNRWA plays in assisting Palestinian refugees and maintaining regional stability and calls upon other donors to enhance their support for UNRWA.

US State Department

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.

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