30 July 2020
A Palestinian refugee from Syria being examined at the UNRWA Beddawi Health Centre, Lebanon. © 2020 UNRWA Photo by Maysoun Mustafa

Yesterday, Ambassador of Italy in Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere, and the Director of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, signed an agreement for an additional contribution of EUR 1 million to the 2020 UNRWA Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal in Lebanon from the Government of Italy.

This new critical funding will enable UNRWA to continue providing support to health care and cash assistance for Palestine refugee most in need of assistance in Lebanon. It will support hospitalization to over 380 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) and multipurpose cash assistance to around 2,450 Palestinian refugee families from Syria displaced to Lebanon.

Mr. Cordone said: “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Government of Italy for their support that will enable the Agency to continue to provide life-saving services to PRS in Lebanon while addressing their immediate needs in response to COVID-19. Contributions from Italy have made a significant difference to the lives of many thousands of Palestine refugees whose living conditions have worsened because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis in Lebanon.”

Ambassador Bombardiere stressed the importance of UNRWA services in Lebanon and said: “Italy recognizes the enormous efforts of the Lebanese Government to host vulnerable refugees and will continue to support its endeavors. With the agreement we signed, Italy confirms its commitment to sustain the commendable actions undertaken by UNRWA in the country, also in the context of the COVID-19 emergency. A vision that places the vulnerable people at the center of the Italian aid policy.”

The Government of Italy has long been one of the Agency’s most reliable donors. Between 2017-2019, UNRWA received EUR 5.25 million from Italy in support of the Agency’s assistance to Palestine refugees in Lebanon, as well as the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared refugee camp. This ongoing reconstruction project still requires some US$ 51 million in funding for completion.

Ms. Donatella Procesi, Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Lebanon, said: “Support to UNRWA has been always one of the core activities of the Italian Cooperation. In the last few years, we have decided to support healthcare and lifesaving health assistance to the thousands of Palestinian Refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria. A choice that is in line with our commitment to be always beside the most vulnerable people.”

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 5.6 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.

For more information, please contact:

Huda Samra
Communications Advisor – Lebanon (Arabic and Francophone)
+961 81 666 134
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140