New Zealand commits to supporting UNRWA until 2021

07 May 2019

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, and the Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, Craig Hawke have signed a three-year commitment, between 2019 and 2021, of NZ$ 3 million to support core UNRWA programmes.

The Permanent Representative reaffirmed New Zealand’s commitment to UNRWA saying “UNRWA continues to play a unique and vital role ensuring that the humanitarian, development and protection needs of Palestinian refugees are met in the absence of a lasting political solution to their situation. In this regard, UNRWA is an important stabilizing force for peace in the region. With this three-year un-earmarked contribution, New Zealand is proud to continue our long-standing commitment to UNRWA and to Palestinian refugees.”

This multi-year agreement is critical in enabling predictable funding that will allow UNRWA to continue to provide uninterrupted services to Palestine refugees, including education to 532,000 Palestine refugee boys and girls in 715 UNRWA schools across the Middle East. This support will have a direct positive impact on the well-being of some of the most vulnerable refugees in the Middle East.

Expressing his appreciation, UNRWA Commissioner-General Krähenbühl stated: “UNRWA is proud to partner with the Government of New Zealand. We are grateful for the generous support provided by New Zealand and deeply impressed by the strength of the country’s commitment to our work. This multi-year contribution helps protects our service delivery and represents a contribution towards stability for Palestine refugees and the Middle East region.”

Through this contribution, New Zealand will help UNRWA directly address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of poverty eradication and respect for human rights, which are both at the core of the Agency’s human development and humanitarian and protection work.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140