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Norway announces additional contribution to Syria Emergency Appeal during Commissioner-General’s two-day mission to Oslo
On Friday 14 October, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, concluded a two-day mission to Norway, where he met with government officials, researchers and Norwegian humanitarian organizations to discuss the long-standing partnership between the Kingdom and the Agency and the current situation facing Palestine refugees in the Agency’s five fields of operations, including those who have been heavily affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria and the Gaza blockade. During the visit, Norway announced an additional NOK 45 million (US$ 5.5 million) contribution to the Agency’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal, bringing their total contribution to the Appeal in 2016 to an unprecedented NOK 85 million (US$ 10.3 million).
Over the course of two-day visit, Mr. Krähenbühl met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende; the Norwegian Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, and other government officials; the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland; researchers related to the FAFO institute; and members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Storting and several Norway-based non-governmental organizations.
“Norway has long been a highly valued partner of UNRWA, and this visit gave us an opportunity to deepen our partnership and cooperation,” said Mr. Krähenbühl upon concluding his visit. “We are especially grateful for the latest contribution from Norway to the Agency’s emergency interventions in Syria. This additional support will further enable UNRWA to meet the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the ongoing conflict.”
In 2015, Norway was among the top 10 donors to the Agency’s core programmes and services. In addition to their contributions to the Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal, Norway has contributed NOK 112.5 million (US$ 13.8 million) to the UNRWA Programme Budget in 2016 and also funds the Human Rights Programme and Gender Initiative in Gaza.
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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