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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
14 December 2010


UNRWA Welcomes Increased Support From Australia


East Jerusalem -- Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today announced the Australian government would be tripling its contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Australia will provide AUD18 million over three years in its first multi-year commitment to the Agency. The funding will be provided to UNRWA’s core budget for education, health, housing and social services.

In addition to this multi-year funding, Australia will provide in 2010-11 an additional AUD5.5 million for UNRWA’s core budget as well as AUD1.5 million to support UNRWA’s emergency relief in Gaza.

Mr Rudd visited a school at the Kalandia refugee camp with UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi. Mr Rudd saw first hand how UNRWA's education programmes work on the ground.

“This Australian funding – which will help to educate half a million Palestinian children – is an invaluable contribution to stability," said Mr Grandi.

After meeting with Palestinian students in the UNRWA school, Mr Rudd thanked the Agency for its work providing education and basic services to Palestine refugees across five fields: in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Mr Rudd said Australia’s increased funding was a clear demonstration of its commitment to provide practical assistance to the Palestinian people. The guarantee of multi-year funding would help the Agency plan for the delivery of services.

Grandi thanked the government and people of Australia for supporting UNRWA’s human development work with some of the most impoverished and marginalised people in the Middle East.

Background

UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the region, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency's human development work encompasses education, health care, social safety-net, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict.

The Australian government is a consistent supporter of UNRWA's work. Over the last 10 years, Australia has contributed over AUD106m (US$84m) to the Agency, including to its core activities, and to emergency work in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in Nahr el Bared camp in Lebanon.

For more information please contact:
Chris Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0) 54 240 2659
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0) 54 216 8295
s.mshasha@unrwa.org


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