Zaragoza City Council and Asturias Regional Government Contribute to UNRWA Programmes

21 August 2013

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is grateful to the Spanish local governments of Zaragoza and of Asturias for their generous support to UNRWA programmes. 
Zaragoza City Council, an UNRWA supporter since 2006, has made a contribution of EUR 80,000 (US$ 107,000) to the Agency's Job Creation Programme (JCP), which aims to ease the impact of widespread poverty and protracted conflict by providing short-term employment opportunities for Palestine refugees, helping to inject cash into the local economy and support the private sector. 
The funding from Zaragoza will provide urgently needed employment opportunities for 102 unemployed Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip. Thirty per cent of the working days will be reserved for women, reflecting the programme's commitment to supporting vulnerable groups. As unemployment rates in Gaza remain high and the private sector is hampered by continuing conflict and blockade, the JCP provides an important source of support for the Palestine refugee community.
The Regional Government of Asturias has contributed EUR 65,000 (US$ 86,700) in support of the UNRWA School Feeding programme in Gaza. With this funding, the Agency will be able to provide 361,169 meals to 9,842 Palestine refugee students in 2013. Increasing economic hardship in Gaza has forced many students to come to school hungry. By offering them a meal at school, UNRWA helps improve their focus and academic achievement. The programme also supports the local economy by involving local bakers, farmers, suppliers and other vendors. 
The Regional Government of Asturias has been a committed and dependable supporter of this programme. Since 2007, Asturias has contributed EUR 567,000 (US$ 755,600) to help provide students in Gaza with meals while reducing some of the economic burden on their families.

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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:

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