UNRWA Commissioner-General visits Brussels for High Level Meetings

23 March 2023
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini (centre) participates in panel discussion at the European Humanitarian Forum 2023 © European Commission, 2023.


Between 20-22 March, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, concluded a visit to Brussels, Belgium, to highlight the pressing needs of Palestine refugees in the face of multiple crises, including the consequences of the earthquake in Syria.

On 21 March, Lazzarini attended the ‘International Donors' Conference to support the people in Türkiye and Syria’ hosted by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. “UNRWA has launched an updated flash appeal for US$ 16.2 million to meet the humanitarian and early recovery needs of Palestine refugees who were affected by this natural catastrophe in Syria and Lebanon. We are calling on our partners to help us help Palestine refugees in this time of acute need,” he said.

The same day, the Commissioner-General took part in a panel discussion at the European Humanitarian Forum on good practices as well as barriers to the promotion of multiannual and flexible funding. The Commissioner-General argued that flexible funding is about mutual trust, and mutual understanding. "UNRWA has consistently highlighted the importance of flexible and sustainable funding to ensure optimal planning and financial management.”

During his mission, he met with Belgium's Minister of Development Cooperation, Caroline Gennez;  Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Tobias Lindner; Swedish State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, Diana Janse; European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič; European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi; and Director of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), Peter Wagner. He also briefed the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Belgian Parliament and participated in a fruitful exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament and Brussels-based think tanks. Furthermore, he had an exchange with students at the UCLouvain Saint-Louis University organized by the UN Association of the French-speaking community of Belgium (APNU).

Throughout all his meetings, Lazzarini addressed the challenges facing Palestine refugees in Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan and highlighted the Agency’s contribution to stability and security in the region.

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.


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