Friday, 20 July 2018

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$100 million pledges for UNRWA

UNSG at UNRWA donor conference, Rome, Italy, 15 March, 2018

15 March 2018. New pledges that amount to $100 million were announced today at an Extraordinary Ministerial Conference  in support of UNRWA in Rome.

“I don´t recall many conferences in my long career, where such a unanimous support was given to one institution that provides remarkable services to Palestine refugees, services that need to be secured at all cost,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at a press conference.

Qatar, France, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and India were among the countries that announced new contributions to UNRWA.

For 2018, with pledges reduced, UNRWA, the UN institution working for Palestinian refugees faces a financial shortfall of an estimated $446 million.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said that despite the pledges today its operations have only been secured until mid-summer.

He said that UNRWA´s activities were important also from a European perspective, calling the education of 500,000 Palestinians, an “investment in the future.”

“If you take into account the instability that exists in the Middle-East, the risk of radicalization, and the danger of new migratory movements, I think in a European perspective, one should protect this investment and be proud of it,” Krähenbühl told the press conference.

Children at UNRWA funded school promoting #dignityispriceless campaign

If the financial shortfall of UNRWA is not bridged, critical services could be reduced or eliminated entirely – from schools to sanitation, from medicine to microfinance to food security for some 1.7 million refugees in abject poverty or affected by conflict.

The UN Secretary-General emphasized the importance of UNRWA, not only to the Palestinian refugees but also to host countries of refugees, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, which would be dramatically impacted and “absolutely need” the work of UNRWA.

UNRWA Rome conference. #dignityispriceless (photo: FAO & UNRWA)

“Without UNRWA security in the region would be severely undermined,” Mr. Guterres said.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said this was a very important first step in solving the current financial crisis of the Institution.

“I can say with great confidence that there has never been a more powerful expression of political leadership in support of UNRWA in its 68-year history than here in Rome today.”

The ministerial conference was chaired by the Foreign Ministers of the co-hosting countries, Ayman Safadi of Jordan, Margot Wallström of Sweden and Sameh Shoukry of Egypt.

 

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