The European Union (EU) has contributed an additional EUR 20 million in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’s (UNRWA) core programmes, including education, health, and relief and social services. This donation will make an important contribution to closing the 2016 shortfall and allow UNRWA to continue to support the needs of Palestine refugees in all of the Agency’s fields of operations.
For over four decades, the European Union has established itself as a key strategic partner for the Agency, supporting UNRWA in its efforts to help Palestine refugees achieve their full potential in human development despite their difficult circumstances.
“I highly welcome this remarkable additional contribution by the European Union. It is a powerful sign of the EU's solidarity with Palestine refugees and generous support to UNRWA's vital role in an increasingly unstable Middle East. I value the trust placed in our Agency and commit to ensuring effective use of this critical support," expressed UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.
The European Union continues to be the largest multilateral donor to the Agency’s core programmes and services. This latest donation comes in addition to the European Union’s EUR 82 million annual contribution to the Agency’s Programme Budget, and brings its total contribution to UNRWA – including contributions to projects and emergency appeals – to EUR 138.5 million in 2016.
EU AND UNRWA: TOGETHER FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. Today, the European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide core services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, including quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients.
Collectively, the EU and its Member States are also among the largest contributors to the Agency’s humanitarian emergency appeals and projects in response to various crises and specific needs across the region. The partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.