Roundtable Engages Palestine Refugee Youth on Challenges and the Way Forward for Employment in Lebanon

28 December 2017
Roundtable engages Palestine Refugee Youth on Challenges and the Way Forward for Employment in Lebanon.  © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Tarek el-Salhani
Roundtable engages Palestine Refugee Youth on Challenges and the Way Forward for Employment in Lebanon.  © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Tarek el-Salhani

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Lebanon and the European Union (EU) hosted a roundtable discussion on 13 December 2017 to examine issues related to the employment of Palestine refugees. The roundtable brought together different stakeholders, including experts, private sector representatives and Palestine refugee youth.

Under the title of “Employment Perspectives for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon: Challenges and the Way Forward,” the event offered room for discussion about challenges, obstacles and collaboration perspectives on improving the right of Palestine refugees to decent employment and economic participation in the country, while reviving local economy.

Palestine refugee youth had the chance to meet representatives from UNRWA and the EU, as well as from the private sector, the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, the trade unions, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), public institutions and others.

The Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Gwyn Lewis, said: ““UNRWA remains committed to Palestine refugees’ right to work. Together with the European Union, the Agency has been providing quality education and supportive services to refugee children at UNRWA schools as well as increasing the employability of youth through technical and vocational education and training and through career guidance and employment services.”

“We hope to continue this partnership with the European Union to ensure a better future for Palestine refugees in Lebanon by providing them with skills and opportunities allowing them to enjoy their right to work,” she added. “It is only through education, employment and opportunities for the future that young Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon can be ensured a dignified life.”

Jose Luis Vinuesa-Santamaria, Head of the Economy and Local Development Section at the EU Delegation to Lebanon, said: "Obstacles to access to the labour market for Palestine refugees cause frustration, informality and precarious working conditions. We have to find ways by collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure better opportunities and conditions for Palestine refugees in Lebanon to access education, training and livelihood opportunities."

EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees

The European Union and UNRWA have 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. 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 daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. This 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.

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:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Huda Samra
Communications Advisor – Lebanon (Arabic and Francophone)
+961 81 666 134
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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