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Celebrating 70 years of partnership and solidarity: Newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Jordan Visits UNRWA installations to Baqa’a Palestine Refugee Camp
Today, the Japanese Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Mr. Jiro Okuyama, paid a visit to a Palestine Refugee family from Syria (PRS), as well as several United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) installations in Baqa’a camp, to show support for the work of UNRWA across the Middle East. The Japanese delegation was welcomed by Mr. Olaf Becker, Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan.
Mr. Becker briefed H.E. Mr. Jiro Okuyama about the Agency’s operations in Jordan and the challenges facing Palestine Refugees, especially Palestine Refugees from Syria. This was followed by a briefing by Dr. Akihiro Seita, UNRWA Director of Health, who expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for their enduring support in the last 70 years.
Dr. Oroba Al Mousa, UNRWA Jordan Field Chief of Education emphasized the academic challenges and learning loss facing students following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the importance of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for Palestine Refugee children and youth. The delegation then toured the UNRWA Baqa’a Health Centre and visited the shelter of a PRS family.
Mr. Okuyama reiterated Japan's commitment to supporting refugees in Jordan and across the region, “I am honored to have had the opportunity to visit UNRWA schools, and health centers, and meet with refugees in Jordan. UNRWA's role in providing Palestinian refugees with essential services such as healthcare, education, and social security is vital for both humanitarian needs and stability in the Middle East. Japan remains committed to supporting the efforts of UNRWA in providing critical services to refugees in Jordan and the region, and will continue to work closely with our partners to improve the lives of those affected by the conflict."
“This year, the Government of Japan continues to support UNRWA in enhancing human security of Palestine refugees residing in Jordan by addressing their food security and through delivery of critical healthcare and basic education services for those who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and its associated impacts. We sincerely thank you for your essential assistance,” Olaf Becker said.
2023 marks the 70th year anniversary of unwavering support from Japan to UNRWA. Since 1953, continuous contributions by Japan have supported millions of lives across the region. In 2022, Japan ranked 6th among the Agency’s largest donors, with a total contribution of US$ 30.2 million. As of March 2023, the Government of Japan has contributed US$33.2 million to UNRWA as an early supplemental disbursement, considering the critical financial needs of the Agency. Additionally, the contribution will assist in supporting the Agency’s Emergency Appeals for Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The generous supplemental contribution includes US$ 5 million for Jordan field to enhance the human security of Palestine Refugees in Jordan, specifically for food security and the provision of basic health care and education services. The Government of Japan also extended its support to UNRWA with a donation of US$ 5.5 million, as Emergency Grant Aid in response to global food security facing Palestine Refugees in Gaza and Syria and another US$ 0.5 million as Emergency Grant Aid in response to the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
The visit by the Japanese Ambassador to Jordan highlights the importance of international support in addressing the needs of refugees in Jordan and the region. It also demonstrates the strong partnership between Japan and Jordan and the shared commitment to providing critical services to those in need.
Notes to Editors
Japan has offered over US$ 2 billion to the Palestinian people since 1993. Recent financial commitments to UNRWA include:
- For 2023, Japan contributed US$ 33.2M for the Japanese Supplementary Budget, Emergency Grant Aid for Syria EA winterization purposes, Emergency Grant Aid for Gaza, emergency aid to help Gaza cover the increasing cost of food prices and Ukraine crises.
- For 2022, Japan contributed $29.5M for Gaza Education project. Emergency Grant Aid for Syria EA winterization purposes, Japanese Supplementary Budget, Emergency Grant Aid for Gaza, Ukraine crisis and emergency aid to help Gaza cover the increasing cost of food prices.
- For 2021, Japan contributed US$ 50.4 million for Gaza Education project, Japanese Supplementary Budget, emergency relief grant for UNRWA, food support programme in Gaza.
- For 2020, Japan contributed US$ 33.1 million, making Japan UNRWA’s 5th largest donor, for Education in Gaza, food support in Gaza and more.
- For 2019, Japan contributed US$ 43.4 million making it the 8th largest donor to UNRWA.
- Japan currently provides funding for 5 JPOs and 2 UNVs. Japan also highly values the presence of a Japanese national on UNRWA’s senior staff.
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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