UNRWA Advisory Commission Members Visit Lebanon
On 15 and 16 November 2017, members of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) visited the Agency’s operations in Lebanon and witnessed firsthand the situation of Palestine refugees.
The members of the Advisory Commission, accompanied by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, met with community representatives, in particular youth groups. The meetings focused on the challenging living conditions of Palestine refugee youth and their future, specifically their needs for educational, skill-building and employment opportunities.
The visit included a tour in Rashidieh camp and Siblin Training Centre in South Lebanon as well as Burj Barajneh camp in Beirut, where community representatives and UNRWA staff presented camp improvement, community service and other initiatives. Students from al-Aqsa school in Rashidieh camp showcased the role of school parliaments in involving students in decision-making.
Mr. Cordone said, “UNRWA is ever more committed to supporting Palestine refugee youth to reach their full potential. We continue to provide children and youth with educational opportunities, as well as vital services like health care and services to improve their living conditions.”
He added, “The present situation of Palestine refugee youth is challenging, but with their active participation and the crucial support from our donors and the Lebanese authorities we can create a better future.”
On the second day of the visit, the Advisory Commission members met with representatives from the UNRWA Syria field office and discussed the situation in Syria and the challenges faced by Palestine refugees there.
The Advisory Commission is tasked with advising and assisting the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in carrying out the Agency’s mandate.
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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