UN Secretary General Renews Mandate of Philippe Lazzarini as UNRWA Commissioner-General

28 March 2023
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini (left) greets a young Palestine refugee during a field visit to Syria in April 2022. © 2022 UNRWA Photo

Mandate of UNRWA Commissioner-General renewed to March 2026  


The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, welcomed the renewal of his mandate by the UN Secretary-General, saying he was “honoured” by the decision. 

This is Lazzarini’s second three-year term at UNRWA, one of the largest UN agencies in the world. With 28,000 staff members, UNRWA delivers critical services including health, education, social protection, camp infrastructure and sanitation, among others, to millions of Palestine refugees. The Agency operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. 

“I am honoured by the decision of Secretary-General Guterres and his confidence in me at a time of immense challenges in the region, Lazzarini said. I also am grateful for the support expressed by the UN Member States, the host countries in the region, and our donors and partners. 

As he starts his second term, Lazzarini pledged to keep working tirelessly to provide continued access of Palestine refugees to UNRWA services per the Agency’s mandate and reinforce the trust of the international community in UNRWA. He is committed to improving and modernizing the quality of the services, including through digitalization.   

“I look forward to continuing to work with my dedicated colleagues, most of whom are Palestine refugees, so we can face and overcome challenges together, said the Commissioner-General. At the centre of all our efforts are the rights of Palestine refugees, until there is a just and lasting solution to their plight.” 



  • Philippe Lazzarini, a Swiss national, is the 11th  Commissioner-General of UNRWA 

  • He was previously based in Beirut, Lebanon, as UN Deputy Special Coordinator and Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator.  

  • He was appointed as UNRWA Commissioner-General on 18 March 2020, during strict COVID-19 restrictions. 

Background Information: 

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.


For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson/ Director of External Relations & Communications
+962 (0)79 090 0140