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UNRWA expresses deep gratitude for host government exemplary support in addressing its financial crisis
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl has expressed his deep gratitude for the exemplary support, commitment and understanding from host country governments as UNRWA has strived to close its core budget deficit in recent months.
Particular recognition and praise goes to the Government of Jordan – including the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister – for robust support, personal outreach and joint fundraising efforts.
Special appreciation is expressed to the President and Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, and the Palestine Liberation Organization, including the Department of Refugee Affairs for strong solidarity, outreach and dialogue; and to the Prime Minister of Lebanon for valued support and welcome initiatives.
UNRWA also appreciates the dialogue it had with the Director of the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees in Syria regarding the Agency’s financial crisis.
“We are deeply grateful to host country governments for their active engagement in recent months,” Mr. Krähenbühl said. “The hosts expressed deep concerns about possible consequences of the financial crisis on UNRWA’s education program. They were very supportive of UNRWA’s approach to addressing the crisis ever since the Agency first announced the risk of a delayed start to the school year.
We appreciate that their commitment is not limited to solving the Agency’s 2015 funding shortfall, but extends to supporting UNRWA efforts to secure a more stable financial footing for the future. We look forward in particular to their support in the upcoming League of Arab States and General Assembly meetings, and their support for internal measures designed to more effectively preserve and protect the core UNRWA services.”
Mr. Krähenbühl stressed that education is a “fundamental right” for children everywhere. “We must ensure that we never again reach a stage where core UNRWA services are at risk,” he said. “It is a matter of dignity and respect for Palestine refugees and their children. My determination and commitment in this regard and in protecting the mandate of UNRWA is absolute.
“We fought very hard to create a revival of solidarity for Palestine refugees and a renewed understanding of the importance of respecting their rights and addressing their needs adequately and predictably. We thank host country governments for their trust.”
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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