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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
9 December 2014


09 December 2014
East Jerusalem

The UN General Assembly has voted with an overwhelming majority to admit Brazil and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to full membership of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); the Agency’s consultative body which advises on key strategic decisions.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “Both Brazil and the UAE have been exemplary partners , providing steadfast support to UNRWA operations, including during and after the 50-day Gaza conflict. Membership of the Advisory Commission now seals their place and I welcome them to the UNRWA family.”

Brazil is the first Latin American country to be represented on the Advisory Commission, cementing a relationship that has grown remarkably over the past five years. This increased support culminated in $9.2 million worth of donations to UNRWA in 2014, in the form of rice for vulnerable and food-insecure refugees. Brazil also contributed $8 million to UNRWA between 2012 and 2013.

UAE membership brings the influence of an important ally in the Arab-region to the Advisory Commission, and strengthens the existing relationship with a valued partner. The UAE has contributed $78.2 million towards UNRWA’s projects and programmes during the last five years.

The Advisory Commission, currently chaired by Sweden, was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8 December 1949 and is tasked with advising and assisting the UNRWA Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate. There are now 27 Advisory Commission members and three observers.


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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267 sends e-mail)

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724 sends e-mail)

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