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It is time for political action to resolve this long-standing crisis
Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson Christopher Gunness
We have seen summaries in the media around issues relating to UNRWA’s mandate and our position is clear and unchanged. UNRWA receives its mandate from the UN General Assembly; and only the UN General Assembly, by a majority vote, can change our mandate. In December 2016, UNRWA's mandate was extended for 3 years by the General Assembly by a large majority. The situation of Palestine Refugees needs to be resolved as part of a political resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is time for political action to resolve this long-standing crisis.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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