The Kingdom of Belgium has announced a new contribution of EUR 6 million (US$ 8 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The latest contribution has been made to the Agency’s General Fund, which supports the vital services that UNRWA provides to some 5 million Palestine refugees. The funds include EUR 2 million (US$ 2.65 million) in support of the UNRWA social safety net, which provides important food and cash assistance for nearly 300,000 particularly vulnerable Palestine refugees.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi noted that Belgium has been one of the most supportive and reliable UNRWA donors. He said: “At this critical moment, we are extremely grateful to the Government and the people of Belgium for their committed support, which is crucial to maintaining regional stability and supporting the health, education and relief services that UNRWA offers to the Palestine refugee community.”
Since 2007, Belgium has contributed over US$ 70 million to the Agency. Reflecting its standing as a major partner, Belgium has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1953.
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 five 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$ 54.3 million.
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