UNRWA SIGNS US$ 19.5 MILLION WITH THE SAUDI FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT
01 September 2015
H.E. Eng. AL-Bassam said: “UNRWA is playing a vital role in providing basic needs and social services for Palestine refugees, Government of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), will continue its support to the Palestinian people in all fields.”
The first component, valued at $15 million, will support essential education and healthcare operations in Gaza. The second will provide funds for much needed maintenance to UNRWA facilities across all five fields of operation in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The remainder of the $35 million will be spent on upgrading schools and health centres in Jordan, a particularly important step in a field where means have often been short, and on the re-construction of three health centres in the West Bank.
UNRWA’s Commissioner-General paid tribute to this timely and generous contribution: “I am deeply grateful to the government and people of Saudi Arabia. At a time of severe crisis, the donation was a strong message of solidarity towards Palestine refugees and UNRWA. We will always remember how Saudi Arabia stepped forward in this uncertain time and made a contribution that was instrumental in allowing UNRWA to open its schools on time for half a million Palestine refugee children."
In May this year, UNRWA also signed agreements with the Saudi Fund for Development worth $111.5 million, bringing the total contributions from SFD to UNRWA so far this year to $146.5 million. Saudi Arabia is the third largest donor to UNRWA.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
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