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UNRWA: Eight countries pledge $614m during conference

November 17, 2021 at 10:31 am

Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini (L) holds a press conference in Gaza City, Gaza on January 14, 2021 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said yesterday that eight countries pledged $614 million during an international ministerial conference hosted by Jordan and Sweden.

During the conference, titled “Sustaining the Rights and Human Development of Palestinian Refugees”, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said: “Today’s conference once again demonstrates the international community’s recognition of the vital, life-saving role UNRWA plays throughout the Middle East.”

“These commitments come at a vital time as the Agency faces increased political attacks that threaten our ability to provide humanitarian aid and human development services to millions of Palestine refugees.”

“It is unacceptable that the well-being of these refugees continues to be threatened in the absence of a political, lasting solution to their plight.”

READ: Hamas urges donors to protect UNRWA

In a joint statement, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde said: “UNRWA continues to face repeated, catastrophic funding shortfalls that leave its staff and the millions of people it serves highly vulnerable to losing their basic necessities.”

They added: “We call on the international community to reform the structural funding model that has so often failed this vital UN Agency by committing to multi-year financing, expanding the donor base, and developing innovative financing mechanisms.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “We need to collectively find a path towards more predictable, sufficient and sustainable funding for the Agency, including through multi-year commitments.”

In its statement, the UN agency which is charged with providing services for Palestine refugees said: “UNRWA operates critical health, education, social protection, and other services in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon at an annual budget of around US$ 800 million.”