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Spain Contributes EUR 2 Million in Support of UNRWA Human Development Programmes
The Government of Spain, through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), has contributed EUR 2 million (approximately US$ 2.35 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The funds will be used to support UNRWA human development activities of protection, health, relief and social services to over 5.3 million Palestine refugees in the Middle East, as well as education to half a million children across all UNRWA areas of operation.
At a signing ceremony with Mr. Rafael Matos, Spanish Consul General in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, 12 December, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General, thanked the Consul General for Spain’s generosity and stated, ”I welcome the new contribution, which shows Spain’s strong commitment to the mandate and operations of UNRWA, as well as the trust the Spanish Government places in the Agency.”
This agreement comes in addition to the support from Spain’s regional governments which in 2017 totaled over EUR 3.6 million (approximately US$ 4.23 million) as well as AECID’s contribution of EUR 400.000 (approximately US$ 480.77) towards the 2017 UNRWA Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal. Spain is a long-standing supporter of UNRWA, having contributed in total EUR 94.4 million (approximately US$ 130 million) since 2007 and has been a valued member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 2005.
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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