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Oslo Visit: UNRWA Commissioner-General Holds Talks on the Agency's Strategic Partnership with Norway
Between 26 and 27 January, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, visited Oslo to hold meetings with key Norwegian interlocutors with a view to further deepen the strategic partnership with Norway, as well as to express his appreciation for Norway's exceptional financial and political support to Palestine refugees.
Lazzarini thanked the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, for setting an excellent example of good donorship, “Norway should serve as an inspiration for other donors. The multiyear agreement signed in 2022 provides increased, predictable and flexible funding allowing the Agency to continue delivering basic services. I look forward to further deepening our strong partnership.”
Minister Huitfeldt said, “Norway remains strongly committed in our support to UNRWA. UNRWA’s ability to provide services is essential for stability in the Middle East. UNRWA plays a key role to ensure that the rights and essential needs of the Palestine refugees are met. We will continue to support UNRWA in a difficult period for the Agency, and will therefore shortly transfer this year’s contribution to UNRWA. This will secure humanitarian aid, schools and health services for Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.”
During his visit to Oslo, the Commissioner-General met with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and members of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs. Throughout all his discussions, Lazzarini stressed the growing humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees and the existential challenges facing UNRWA, the impact of the war in Ukraine, and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This trip followed the Agency’s presentation of its 2023 annual appeal for funding in Geneva on 24 January. UNRWA appealed for US$ 1.6 billion for its programmes and operations across the region for 2023.
Norway is an active and supportive partner of UNRWA. In 2022, UNRWA signed a multiyear agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a total contribution of NOK 1.1 billion (approximately US$ 124.5 million) over a period of four years to support the Agency’s core and humanitarian services. Norway also provided an end of year top-up of NOK 22 million (US$ 2.2 million), which brought their 2022 contribution to the largest ever.
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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