UNRWA Reaffirms Strong Partnership with Luxembourg
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, has successfully concluded a one-day visit to Luxembourg, during which he thanked the country for its very reliable and long-standing support to UNRWA. The Commissioner-General held a meeting with His Royal Highness, the Grand Duke Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume at the Grand Ducal Palace. He discussed the Agency’s current financial concerns, as well as future challenges, with the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Jean Asselborn. Their meeting was followed by a joint press conference.
Commissioner-General Krähenbühl expressed his gratitude to the Government of Luxembourg for its commitment to the work of UNRWA: “It is important for me to come to Luxembourg to reaffirm the essential and growing partnership with Luxembourg and to express my appreciation for the long-standing and vital support provided, particularly at this critical juncture for the Agency. Luxembourg continues to be a supportive donor to UNRWA and I thank them for their commitment to the Agency and to Palestine refugees.”
Mr. Krähenbühl also met with the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Roman Schneider, with whom he signed a new EUR 3 million multi-year agreement focusing on health for youth in Gaza. This support is consistent with Luxembourg’s engagement in this sector of the Agency’s work over the past six years. Luxembourg announced an increased multi-year contribution to the UNRWA core budget over the 2019-2021 period, amounting to EUR 4 million contribution per annum.
These generous contributions represent a continuation and enhancement of partnership between Luxembourg and UNRWA. Between 2002 and 2017, Luxembourg has provided some US$ 65 million in financial support to the Agency across its core budget needs, emergency appeals and key projects. Commissioner-General Krähenbühl expressed his appreciation of Luxembourg’s clear advocacy message in support of the Agency’s mandate and to uphold the human rights of Palestine refugees.
UNRWA provides essential educational, health, relief and social services to Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip. As of 1 2018 the Agency handled 3,858,497 million patient visits in 22 health centres across the embattled enclave.
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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