Who We Are

gender equity

gender equity

1960

UNRWA schools achieve gender parity in the 1960s, after females made up only 26 per cent of students in 1951. This has been maintained ever since. By 2013, UNRWA operates over 700 schools, and has been the main provider of free-of-charge basic education to Palestine refugees for over 60 years.

Women’s Training Centre

Women’s Training Centre

1962

UNRWA opens the Ramallah Women’s Training Centre, the first institution in the Middle East to offer teacher training and vocational courses to refugee women. In 2013, the Agency runs nine vocational and technical training centres with a capacity for over 7,000 trainees.

Education and skills training

Education and skills training

1966

Education and skills training takes over from relief as the major UNRWA programme in terms of staff and expenditure. In 2013, nearly 50 per cent of the Agency’s human development budget is dedicated to education and skills training.

Hostilities break out

Hostilities break out

5th June 1967

Hostilities break out between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria; it is reported that over 300,000 people are rendered homeless or leave their homes, including some 120,000 Palestine refugees. UNRWA responds by providing emergency aid and relief. In the aftermath of the hostilities and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, UNRWA establishes ten camps to accommodate the wave of displaced persons, including persons not registered as Palestine refugees.

the Cairo Agreement

2nd November 1969

In Egypt, talks between a PLO delegation, led by Yasser Arafat, and a Lebanese delegation, led by General Emile Bustani, lead to what becomes known as the Cairo Agreement, whereby control over the 16 Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon passes from the Lebanese Armed Forces to the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command. On 21 May 1987, the agreement is declared null and void by the Lebanese parliament.

1
2
3
4
5

We provide assistance and protection for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees to help them achieve their full potential in human development.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.

The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.

Establishment

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.

> Read the UN Resolution

Palestine refugees

UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration. 

UNRWA services are available to all those living in its areas of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

> More on Palestine refugees

Human Development Goals
The United Nations describes human development in the following terms...
Organizational Structure
UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations programmes, with over 30,...
Advisory Commission
The Advisory Commission was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8...
In 2007, UNRWA began a comprehensive reform programme to strengthen...
Frequently asked questions
This section deals with general queries about UNRWA. For the Agency’s...

Donate
$100 PROVIDES A FAMILY WITH FUEL FOR 1 MONTH