Sweden Supports Emergency UNRWA Interventions for Palestine Refugees Affected by Syria Crisis and Situation in the occupied Palestinian territory

10 March 2017
An UNRWA medical officer attends to a Palestine refugee Bedouin child from Ein Samia in the West Bank during a visit by the emergency mobile health clinic. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tala Zeitawi

The Government of Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency Cooperation (SIDA), has contributed SEK 60 million (approximately US$ 6.6 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support the Agency’s emergency response to the Syria regional crisis (SEK 30 million) and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) (SEK 30 million). 

This latest contribution from Sweden will enable interventions under the Agency’s emergency appeals that are included in the Humanitarian Response Plans for Syria and the oPt and the UN-coordinated appeals in Jordan and Lebanon, helping UNRWA to ensure that Palestine refugees affected by these crises are provided with protection, humanitarian assistance, food assistance and basic services to help alleviate their suffering.

“The ongoing crisis in Syria and the situation in the oPt continue to present protection risks and humanitarian concerns for Palestine refugees throughout the region. Within this context, the support of our partners remains crucial in enabling UNRWA to address the humanitarian and human development needs of conflict-affected refugees, so that they may maintain their resilience and keep hope for the future,” said Francoise Vanni, the Director of External Relations and Communications at UNRWA.  “As such, we are deeply grateful to Sweden for their strong partnership and generous contribution to our emergency interventions in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the oPt, which will allow UNRWA to continue delivering food and cash assistance, education in emergencies, shelter, psychosocial support, environmental health, and other critical front-line services to Palestine refugees.”

Sweden has long been a reliable and consistent supporter of UNRWA and remains one of the Agency’s top donors. In 2016, Sweden contributed SEK 496.3 million (US$ 58.2 million) to UNRWA, placing them among the top five donors to the Agency’s core programmes and services and making them the sixth largest overall donor. 

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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.