Italy has contributed €6.8 million ($8.2 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of its core programmes and services including education, healthcare and relief and social services.
The Italian government's donation comes following the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's appeal to the UN to protect Palestinian refugees and support the UNRWA in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Giuseppe Fedele, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem, said: "This contribution reflects Italy's steadfast commitment in supporting UNRWA to deliver essential services to Palestinian refugees across all its fields of operation. UNRWA remains a vital stabilizing factor in a region that continues to be plagued by old and new crises, as the recent, catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut has dramatically shown."
In a region rife with conflicts, and now battling the health and socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19, UNRWA stands as a vital source of regional stability.
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 aid donations altogether in 2018.
"I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the people and government of Italy for this generous contribution which comes at a time of great need," said Marc Lassouaoui, UNRWA Chief of Donor Relations.
He added, "This timely contribution will help UNRWA continue delivering core services to Palestine refugees throughout the region, including education, health care and relief and social services."
Last year, the Italian government donated €1.5 million ($1.7 million) to the UNRWA which allowed the agency to provide medical services for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.