US Contributions to UNRWA in 2021-2022 are Key to Agency’s Ability to Operate

19 July 2022

19 July 2022

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) deeply appreciates the resolute support by the United States to its operations that contribute to the human rights and dignity of Palestine refugees. During his recent trip to the West Bank, the President of the United States personally reiterated the U.S. commitment to the Agency, announcing a contribution of $201 million in support.  This brings to $618m the total US contribution to UNRWA since the start of his administration in 2021.  The contributions from the US are utilized in support of the Agency’s core budget, emergency humanitarian responses to the crises in Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, and for special projects.

The needs are significant. The overall UNRWA budget for 2021 and 2022 is US $1.5 billion and US $1.6 billion, respectively, and even with the generous support of the United States announced Friday, interruptions and decreases in funding from major donors, including regional donors, still leave an expected funding shortfall above US$ 100 million in 2022. UNRWA calls on member states to provide the agency the Agency with increased financial predictability and multi-year funding.

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 5.7 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.