The German government has pledged to increase its donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) following the announcement that the US has cut its own contributions to the main aid international body which supports Palestinian refugees. Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said that the UNWRA funding crisis fuels uncertainty.
"The loss of this organisation could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction," he said, pointing out that Germany has already donated €81 million ($94 million) towards UNWRA's budget for this year. Apart from a core budget taken out of UN central funds, UNRWA relies entirely on voluntary donations from UN member states and, to a much lesser degree, international NGOs.
Although Maas said that the government in Berlin is preparing to increase its contribution, he gave no further details regarding when and how much. "We are currently preparing to provide an additional amount of significant funds," he told EU foreign ministers in a letter seen by Reuters.
However, he noted that Germany's donation would not cover the $217 million deficit caused by the US aid cut. Hence, he urged the EU and fellow member states to work towards "a sustainable financial basis for the agency."