UNRWA Partners with RedR Australia to Support Emergency Responses through the Deployment of Humanitarian Experts

05 October 2017
Ms. Kirsten Sayers, Chief Executive Officer of RedR Australia and Ms. Francoise Vanni, Director of the UNRWA Department of External Relations and Communications sign Memorandum of Understanding to help strengthen UNRWA emergency response activities. © 2017 UNRWA Photo

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today signed its first Memorandum of Understanding with RedR Australia (RedR AU), a leading humanitarian agency for international emergency relief, to help strengthen the Agency’s emergency response activities. The signing ceremony was attended by Ms. Kirsten Sayers, Chief Executive Officer of RedR Australia, and Ms. Francoise Vanni, Director of the UNRWA Department of External Relations and Communications.

RedR Australia, a Stand-By Partner (SBP) to 10 United Nations agencies, will help UNRWA strengthen its emergency response through the rapid mobilization of humanitarian experts to help communities rebuild and recover in times of crisis. RedR Australia has 25 years’ experience in the international humanitarian sector and its roster includes over 600 experienced emergency response experts across diverse technical sectors including Protection, Child Protection, Gender Based Violence, Emergency Coordination and Food Security.

Commenting on the MoU, Ms. Sayers said, “Protection of the most vulnerable is one of RedR Australia’s highest priorities in a humanitarian crisis and stateless Palestine refugees are some of the most vulnerable in the Middle East right now. We are looking forward to sending our humanitarian experts to support UNRWA’s important work”.

Expressing appreciation for the support pledged through this agreement, Ms. Vanni said, “Given the volatile environment in which UNRWA operates, predictable and reliable support from partners like RedR Australia is critical to strengthening the Agency’s preparedness and ability to respond to emergencies. The assistance to be provided by RedR Australia, for which we thank them, will help us meet the needs of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees affected by unanticipated emergencies”.

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
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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