Brazil and UAE admitted to UNRWA’s top consultative body, the Advisory Commission

09 December 2014

East Jerusalem

The UN General Assembly has voted with an overwhelming majority to admit Brazil and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to full membership of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); the Agency’s consultative body which advises on  key strategic decisions.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “Both Brazil and the UAE have been exemplary partners , providing steadfast support to UNRWA operations, including during and after the 50-day Gaza conflict. Membership of the Advisory Commission now seals their place and I welcome them to the UNRWA family.”

Brazil is the first Latin American country to be represented on the Advisory Commission, cementing a relationship that has grown remarkably  over the past five years. This increased support culminated in $9.2 million worth of donations to UNRWA in 2014, in the form of rice for vulnerable and food-insecure refugees. Brazil also contributed  $8 million to UNRWA between 2012 and 2013.

UAE membership brings the influence of an important ally in the Arab-region to the Advisory Commission, and strengthens the existing relationship with a valued partner. The UAE has contributed $78.2 million towards UNRWA’s projects and programmes during the last five years.

The Advisory Commission, currently chaired by Sweden, was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8 December 1949 and is tasked with advising and assisting the UNRWA Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate. There are now 27 Advisory Commission members and three observers.

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 5.4 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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