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UNRWA signs US$ 19.5 million with the Saudi Fund for Development
Today the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, signed into agreement the first two components of a newly concluded $35 million projects package. The two components, worth $19.5 million, were signed with His Excellency Eng. Yousef Ibrahim Al Bassam, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
H.E. Eng. AL-Bassam said: “UNRWA is playing a vital role in providing basic needs and social services for Palestine refugees, Government of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), will continue its support to the Palestinian people in all fields.”
The first component, valued at $15 million, will support essential education and healthcare operations in Gaza. The second will provide funds for much needed maintenance to UNRWA facilities across all five fields of operation in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The remainder of the $35 million will be spent on upgrading schools and health centres in Jordan, a particularly important step in a field where means have often been short, and on the re-construction of three health centres in the West Bank.
UNRWA’s Commissioner-General paid tribute to this timely and generous contribution: “I am deeply grateful to the government and people of Saudi Arabia. At a time of severe crisis, the donation was a strong message of solidarity towards Palestine refugees and UNRWA. We will always remember how Saudi Arabia stepped forward in this uncertain time and made a contribution that was instrumental in allowing UNRWA to open its schools on time for half a million Palestine refugee children."
In May this year, UNRWA also signed agreements with the Saudi Fund for Development worth $111.5 million, bringing the total contributions from SFD to UNRWA so far this year to $146.5 million. Saudi Arabia is the third largest donor to UNRWA.
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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