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Berlin Visit: UNRWA Commissioner-General Highlights Agency’s Contribution to Stability in the Middle East.
Germany is the second largest donor to UNRWA this year
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, concluded a three-day visit to Berlin (17-20 October). During his stay, Lazzarini paid tribute to Germany for its critical support to the work of UNRWA in education, health and social services. He held meetings with senior officials of the Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Chancellery, and key Members of Parliament. He also took part in the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum of the Koerber Foundation with high-level politicians, government representatives and experts to discuss the foreign policy challenges for Germany and Europe and the impact on the operations of UNRWA across its five areas of operations.
“Desperation is mounting, especially among young people across the Middle East. They are confronted with poverty, unemployment, and a general lack of prospect. Some are risking their lives in search of a more dignified life. Despite chronic underfunding and a very challenging context under which the Agency operates, UNRWA continues to deliver assistance and services against all odds. It is a key contributor to stability and development in the region. It is thanks to the strong support of donors like Germany that UNRWA can deliver core services to Palestine refugees,” the Commissioner-General said.
Lazzarini added: “The sharp increase in the cost of food and commodities is plunging Palestine refugees in the region into deeper poverty. In Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, over 80 percent live below the poverty line. The German Federal Foreign Office is a key partner in providing humanitarian funding to UNRWA to support Palestine refugees through its food assistance programme.”
Notes to Editors:
- Earlier this month, a German delegation inaugurated an UNRWA school in the Talbiyeh Palestine refugee camp in Jordan, which will benefit more than 1,200 Palestine refugee students. These projects were completed with the generous support of the German Government, through KfW Development Bank.
- In July, UNRWA finalized the construction of the al-Qastal rehousing project to reallocate 121 Palestine refugee families - around 600 persons - previously living in Deir El-Balah camp in the Gaza Strip as they evacuated their unlivable and dilapidated homes in the camp.
- The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is a crucial partner of UNRWA. In 2021, Germany was the Agency’s second-largest donor providing EUR 150 million covering education, health care, relief and social services, as well as humanitarian aid and projects improving livelihoods.
- Since 2005, Germany has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, tasked with assisting the Agency in carrying out its mandate. In recent years, Germany has continuously increased its commitment to UNRWA and considerably expanded its financial and technical cooperation with the Agency.
UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.
UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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