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$130m in international support for UNRWA

June 25, 2020 at 1:34 pm

UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

International donors have pledged to contribute $130 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) working for the welfare of Palestinian refugees in support of its core programmes and services.

During an extra-ordinary global meeting on UNRWA at ministerial level hosted on Tuesday by the governments of Sweden and Jordan, 75 governments and non-governmental organisations pledged $130 million.

Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi said: “Giving up on UNRWA means giving up on five million Palestinian refugees who depend on it for education, treatment, food and cash assistance.”

“The Kingdom will continue to be the host for the largest number of Palestinian refugees and will continue working with the international community to find a just peace based on the two-state solution,” he added.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was imperative that the international community “continue in the effort to make UNRWA funding sustainable, predictable and sufficient.”

UNRWA’s funding comes almost entirely from voluntary donations made by UN member states. The Agency has faced severe financial difficulties since the Trump administration stopped US aid donations altogether in 2018.

“Palestine refugees have long lived with the threat that UNRWA operations might be suspended. UNRWA has long lived from hand to mouth,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.

“Today, we took a significant step forward in addressing the Agency’s chronic short and long-term financial challenges, including promoting multi year agreements, expanding the donor base, and exploring innovative funding avenues and mechanisms. I commend today’s participants for sharing our goal to promote the dignity and the rights of Palestine refugees.”