UNRWA and Iceland Sign First Ever Multi-Year Agreement in the Total Value of US$ 1 Million

07 February 2018
UNRWA and Iceland Sign First Ever Multi-Year Agreement in the Total Value of US$ 1 Million. © 2018 UNRWA Photo, James Dykstra

Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Iceland signed a multi-year framework agreement that will see Iceland contribute ISK 25 million (approximately US$ 250,000) per year to support UNRWA human development work over the period between 2018 and 2021 for a total of US$ 1 million.

The multi-year agreement was signed during a ceremony at the Iceland Permanent Mission in New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, and the Director of the UNRWA Representative Office in New York, Peter Mulrean. This is the first multi-year agreement between UNRWA and the government of Iceland and represents an increase of US$50,000 of the annual baseline contribution.

The  four-year contribution will help the Agency sustain its human development programmes for nearly five million Palestine refugees, including education for 500,000 children and primary health service to refugees in 138 health facilities throughout the Middle East.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said: “Iceland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA and this agreement confirms our commitment. Our government has committed to increasing our ODA over the next five years. In line with our commitments from the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, we have focused on providing predictable financing to allow agencies such as UNRWA to plan ahead and use our contribution efficiently for the benefit of those in need. In light of the ongoing conflict in the region, we must ensure quality education for children and the provision of basic health services."Thanking Iceland, Mulrean said: “Multi-year agreements, like the one signed with Iceland, provide valued stability. I thank the government and people of Iceland for their long standing and generous support for Palestine refugees and for the substantial increase in their baseline contribution.  This contribution helps ensure that UNRWA can continue to provide crucial human development aid to Palestine refugees in all areas of UNRWA operations.”

Iceland has been a strong supporter of UNRWA development assistance, while also contributing to emergency appeals in support of the Agency humanitarian work. In 2017, Iceland contributed US$ 500,000 for human development aid and various projects.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
Join the #DignityIsPriceless campaign to stand up #ForPalestineRefugees