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The Government of Spain Reaffirms its Strong Support to Palestine Refugees with an Additional Contribution of EUR 5 Million
Today, the Deputy Consul, Ms. Sofia Ruiz del Árbol, and the Head of Cooperation, Ms. Eva Suárez Leonardo, of the Consulate General of Spain in Jerusalem, met with Mr. Marc Lassouaoui, the Acting Director for Partnerships of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). At the meeting, the Spanish officials confirmed the recent announcement of an additional contribution of EUR 5 million from the Government of Spain in support of Palestine refugees, bringing Spain’s total contribution to UNRWA to approximately EUR 12 million in 2020.
This additional contribution comes at a time when UNRWA operates amidst dire financial conditions and will help UNRWA continue to deliver core services to Palestine refugees throughout the region, including education, health care and relief and social services.
Announcing their additional support for UNRWA during an extremely challenging year, Ms Ruiz del Árbol remarked that: “Spain will remain committed to Palestinian refugees and UNRWA until the achievement of a final solution that will allow Palestinians to deliver on the development goal and reduce the humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities, ensuring that any refugee has access to health and education services.”
Mr. Marc Lassouaoui, on behalf of the Agency, expressed his sincere appreciation to the Government of Spain for its continued support to the Agency: “We are deeply grateful for this generous contribution especially as Spain is facing economic difficulties of its own due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a strong signal that Spain is giving priority to supporting Palestine refugees. It also highlights the importance the Spanish government attaches to the stability in the Middle East region.”
The Government of Spain has been a longstanding supporter and a strategic partner of UNRWA. In 2019, Spain contributed over EUR 9 million to support the Agency’s vital services to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
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.
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