UNRWA Gaza Director to leave in July
The Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, has announced his intention to leave his post in mid-July, after serving with the Agency since 1 May 2012.
“It’s been the most rewarding and challenging three years of my professional life,” said Mr Turner, “I shall miss my team and working alongside the communities in Gaza. Rest assured that I will continue to advocate for Gaza and for the Palestine refugees. If there is one lesson I take away, it is that the denial of their right to a just and durable solution remains at the heart of their humanitarian plight. But I refuse to yield to pessimism. Gaza is a place where the human spirit has shown its indomitability time and time again.”
Mr. Turner has served in Gaza through two conflicts. His term comes amid one of the most severe financial crises the agency has seen in its history.
“Bob’s contribution has been extraordinary at a very demanding time for the agency and the refugees we serve”, said UNRWA Commissioner General, Pierre Krähenbühl. “His leadership of our response to the Gaza conflict last summer rightly won UNRWA and his team in Gaza widespread admiration. I take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of all of us in the Agency.”
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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