Arab and Other Donors Reassert Support to UNRWA at Meeting in NY

27 September 2013
Arab and Other Donors Vow Increased Support for UNRWA
Arab and Other Donors Vow Increased Support for UNRWA
Arab and Other Donors Vow Increased Support for UNRWA

New York

Partners have pledged support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) at a Ministerial meeting held in the margins of the UN General Assembly.

At today’s ministerial level meeting of a group of supporters of UNRWA, jointly chaired by UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League Secretary-General Dr Nabil Elaraby and attended by the Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, Dr Rami Hamdallah,  and by high level delegations from Members of the League of Arab States and from UNRWA’s principal donors,  participants focused on the critical situation of UNRWA caused by the escalating demand for its services and by the need to address growing hardships facing Palestine refugees especially in the occupied Palestinian territory and from regional upheavals provoked by the Syria crisis. Ministers expressed particular concern about UNRWA's financial plight and emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong UNRWA as a contributor to stability in the region.  In the conclusions of the meeting they reaffirmed their commitment to providing UNRWA with reliable long-term support. Arab donors reiterated an engagement to achieve and sustain the target of 7.8 per cent for Arab contributions to the budget supporting UNRWA's basic programmes, as set out in previous Arab League resolutions.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi said: "This high level endorsement of the importance of UNRWA's work and of the need to put UNRWA funding on a sounder footing is more than welcome. I particularly appreciate the support of the Arab League in bringing about this outcome and thank its members for their strong engagement and consideration to increase their funding for UNRWA’s basic programmes, which provide education, health care and poverty relief to 5 million Palestine refugees. What is needed now is for donors to follow up on these expressions of support with concrete contributions and I will be pressing to make sure that happens, with the continuing support of the Arab League. Otherwise we are simply going to run out of money and will have to reduce education and health services and allowances for the poorest."

For more information please read the Conclusions of the Special Meeting of a Group of Supporters of UNRWA.

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
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+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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