Joint Statement by the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the UNRWA Director in Lebanon

09 June 2017
The Minister of State for Displaced Affairs, Mueen Merhebi, The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, and Abdelnasser Al Ayyi of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee visit Nahr el-Bared camp. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Maysoun Mustafa

The Minister of State for Displaced Affairs, His Excellency Mueen Merhebi, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Claudio Cordone, and Mr. Abdelnasser al-Ayyi of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee visited today Nahr el-Bared camp (NBC).

The delegation met with representatives of the Palestinian factions and listened to youth representatives on the challenges and opportunities to improve living conditions and prospects of the camp's residents.

Minister Merhebi expressed his hope that the reconstruction of the camp would soon be completed, and called on donors to fulfill their financial pledges. Minister Merhebi said “Broader support is also key to collective efforts to promote assistance, alongside efforts to prevent violent extremism”.  

The delegation underlined the importance of completion of the reconstruction of the camp, alongside the UN's engagement to further the living conditions for Palestine refugees in Lebanon. Mr. Cordone said "As UNRWA, we commit to use funding in the best possible way to reconstruct the camp. It's a matter of buildings, but most importantly it is about making sure people live in dignity, inside and outside the camp".

SCL Kaag underlined "The enduring partnership between the government of Lebanon and the UN aims to contribute to the stability and security of the country, and through UNRWA ensure protection and assistance to the Palestine refugees".

To date 2,514 families have benefitted from the reconstruction of their homes and another 662 families are expected to return to their homes by 2019.  In order to complete the reconstruction of NBC and allow the remaining 1,700 families to return home, a funding gap of US$ 105 million would need to be filled.

Background Information

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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