UNRWA receives new funding from the UAE

12 December 2019

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has just disbursed the amount of US$ 25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  This extraordinary financial contribution will help UNRWA continue to provide its critical humanitarian services and operations for 2019 in the areas of primary health care, education and social services in Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This is the second disbursement by the UAE to the Agency this year and one of a total of four disbursements on an overall pledged Emirati contribution of US$ 50 million.

“This generous donation could not have come at a more important time for the Agency and for Palestine refugees,” said UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General Mr. Christian Saunders. ”The Agency is doing all it can to overcome the worst financial crisis in its 70 year history and the UAE’s disbursement of funding is a most welcome demonstration of confidence in the organization and its management.”

The UAE had announced a pledge of US$ 50 million in July, matching the extraordinary contribution that they had made to the UNRWA programme budget in 2018. In 2018, the UAE were the sixth largest contributor to the Agency.

“The United Arab Emirates is one of the early advocates of support for UNRWA based on its belief in the role the Agency plays in enhancing the lives of Palestine refugees. In particular, we hope to sustain the Agency’s role in protecting the right to education for generations of refugees who aspire to a bright future is ,” said Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sultan Al-Shamesi. Mr. Al-Shamesi confirmed that the current payment fulfilled the pledge that the UAE had made to endure the continuity of UNRWA services for 2019. He added that the UAE will continue the support just causes, including the Palestinian cause, and that it will provide all possible support to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

The Acting Commissioner-General expressed his deep appreciation on behalf of the 5.5 million Palestine refuges served by UNRWA. “The message to Palestine refugees from the UAE leadership and people today is one of reassurance and a renewal of their historic commitment,” said Mr. Saunders. “I am hopeful that this strong demonstration of trust in UNRWA will encourage others to support the crucial work of the Agency,” he added.

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 5.4 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. 

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724