UNRWA and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Palestine refugees make up one of the largest and longest-lasting protracted refugee situations in the world today. As of mid-2022, the 5.8 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA accounted for almost 21.4 per cent of the world’s total refugee population and around one quarter of protracted refugees in the absence of a just and lasting solution based on international law 

UNRWA was created by General Assembly resolution 302 (IV), with a mandate to provide “direct relief and works programmes” to Palestine refugees, in order to “prevent conditions of starvation and distress…and to further conditions of peace and stability”. Over the past seventy-two years, the Agency has made a singular contribution to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, through direct service delivery and protection. UNRWA’s work has fostered human capital and nurtured peaceful development, consistent with UN principles and values, supporting the stability of a region buffeted by crisis.  

Within this context, Palestine refugees do not fully enjoy basic human rights; many women and children are vulnerable to violence and abuse. UNRWA works to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and is also implementing a comprehensive initiative to address violence against children.  

Progress made in these areas is fundamental to Palestine refugee human development and the achievement of many of the other SDGs referred to in this note.