UNRWA COMMISSIONER-GENERAL MAKES HIS FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT TO NORWAY
27 November 2014
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl made his first official visit in office to Oslo on 26-27 November to discuss the cooperation between UNRWA and Norway, and the current situation in UNRWA’s Fields of operation. Mr. Krähenbühl met with Foreign Minister Børge Brende, senior government officials, members of the Parliament, representatives of civil society and the media. Mr. Krähenbühl also met with the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland.
During the visit, Mr. Krähenbühl thanked the government and people of Norway “for being among the strongest supporters of Palestine refugees and UNRWA”. “Norway is among the largest contributors to the UNRWA General Fund, allowing us to deliver core services such as education, health care and relief to Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria,” Mr. Krähenbühl said. “But I would particularly like to highlight Norway’s longstanding role as a mediator in international conflicts and efforts to support humanitarian action, particularly in this region. We welcome Norway’s initiative to co-host the recent Cairo donor conference and other ongoing efforts to support the urgently needed reconstruction of Gaza.”
Norway has pledged US$ 28.8 million to support UNRWA in 2014 so far. Norway has been one of the largest contributors to the UNRWA General Fund in 2014, with a contribution of NOK 150 million (US$ 24.1 million) this year. In addition, Norway is supporting the UNRWA Human Rights Programme in Gaza with NOK 21 million (ca. US$ 3.4 million) per year between 2013 and 2016 and the Gender Initiative in Gaza with NOK 28.7 million (US$ 5.1 million) between 2010 and 2014. The Gender Initiative will continue to benefit from Norwegian support between 2014 and 2017. Norway also pledged NOK 30 million (US$ 4.7 million) to the UNRWA Gaza response.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.
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