On 20 November, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and Italian organization UISP Sport per Tutti held a ceremony, at the UNRWA Lebanon field office, to mark the conclusion of a project focusing on sport as a tool to convey values of respect.
The ceremony was attended by the representative of the Italian ambassador to Lebanon, First Secretary Palma D’Ambrosio; the Director of the Italian Development Cooperation in Lebanon, Guido Benevento; the Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Roger Davies; and the President of UISP, Vincenzo Manco. Also present were the representative of the Embassy of Palestine to Lebanon, Ramzi Mansour; the representative of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Lina Hamdan; and representatives from the Italian Development Cooperation and UISP.
On this occasion, Ms. D’Ambrosio said: “The longstanding collaboration between UNRWA, UISP and our embassy is based on the common belief that sport is a message of peace, in a moment where political and sectarian divisions represent a continuous threat to the desire of stability and justice expressed by youth.”
The initiative aimed to equip UNRWA schools and sport clubs’ gyms for soft boxing, a non-contact sport that is adaptable for all ages. In 2013, 12 UNRWA schools and 4 sport clubs in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon were provided with specialized soft-boxing training courses and equipment such as head guards, boxing gloves and wraps, punching bags, skipping ropes and dumbbells. The EUR 31,000 (US$ 42,000) project was completely funded by UISP Sport per Tutti and the Italian Province of Bolzano.
Thanking Italy for its continuous support and commitment to UNRWA, Mr. Davies noted: “Italy is an important funding partner for UNRWA in Lebanon. Many of our projects and emergency assistance wouldn’t have been implemented without its support.”
The Government of Italy donated around US$ 2.0 million to support health reform in Lebanon, US$ 2.6 million for the camp improvement initiative and around US$ 7.0 million for emergency assistance in Nahr el-Bared.
Beginning in 2011, UISP organized the ‘Vivicittà – Run for Dignity’ in Saida and Baalbeck. It is an active partner in the organization of ‘Palestiniadi’, an annual sport initiative promoted by the Italian Development Cooperation and UNRWA that aims to promote dialogue between Palestine refugee children from the camps and their Lebanese peers from local schools.
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$ 36 million.
For more information, please contact:
Public Information Officer - Lebanon Field Office
(+ 961 1) 840468
(+ 961 1) 840468