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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/45/645
23 October 1990

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

Forty-fifth session
Agenda item 74



UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY
FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST


Report of the Working Group on the Financing
of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East


Rapporteur: Mr. Sverre BERGH JOHANSEN (Norway)


CONTENTS


Paragraphs
Page
I.INTRODUCTION
1 - 8
2
A. Origin and background of the working group
1 - 3
2
B. Consideration of the report of the Working Group at the forty-fourth session of the General Assembly
4 - 8
2
II.ACTIVITIES OF THE WORKING GROUP DURING 1990
9 - 10
3
III.FINANCIAL SITUATION OF UNRWA
11 - 14
3
IV.CONCLUDING REMARKS
15 - 18
4


I. INTRODUCTION


A. Origin and background of the Working Group


1. The Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established by the General Assembly under resolution 2656 (XXV) of 7 December 1970 to study all aspects of the financing of the Agency. In the resolution, the General Assembly requested the Working Group to assist the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in reaching solutions to the problems posed by the Agency's financial crisis.

2. At the twenty-fifth and succeeding sessions, the General Assembly considered the reports submitted to it by the Working Group, 1/ and adopted resolutions commending the efforts of the Working Group and requesting it to continue them for a further year. 2/

3. The Working Group consists of the representatives of France, Ghana, Japan, Lebanon, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America. The Chairman of the Working Group is Mr. Mustafa Aksin of Turkey.

B. Consideration of the report of the Working Group
at the forty-fourth session of the General Assembly

4. The report of the Working Group on its activities in 1989 3/ was considered by the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session under agenda item 76, entitled "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East". At its 3rd plenary meeting, on 22 September 1989, the General Assembly decided to include this item in its agenda and to allocate it to the Special Political Committee, which considered it at its 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 25th meetings, on 24, 25, 26 and 27 October and 22 November 1989.

5. At the 25th meeting of the Committee, on 22 November 1989, the representative of the Netherlands introduced a draft resolution entitled "Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East" (A/SPC/44/L.9) sponsored by Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Federal Republic of, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Spain, Sweden and Yugoslavia.

6. Under the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would:

(a) Commend the Working Group for its efforts to assist in ensuring the Agency's financial security;

(b) Take note with approval of the report of the Working Group;

(c) Request the Working Group to continue its efforts, in co-operation with the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA for the financing of the Agency for a further period of one year;

(d) Request the Secretary-General to provide the necessary services and assistance to the Working Group for the conduct of its work.

7. At its 25th meeting, on 22 November 1989, the Committee adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

8. At its 78th plenary meeting, on 8 December 1989, the General Assembly considered the draft resolution regarding the Working Group, which had been recommended by the Special Political Committee together with other draft resolutions under this item. The General Assembly adopted the draft resolution without a vote as resolution 44/47 B on 8 December 1989.

II. ACTIVITIES OF THE WORKING GROUP DURING 1990

9. Throughout the year the members of the Working Group have followed with concern the difficulties experienced by the Agency and in particular the serious financial situation it continued to face. The Working Group held two meetings on 14 September and 11 October 1990 to consider the recent developments in the Agency's financial situation and to prepare its report to the General Assembly. The Working Group adopted its report at its meeting on 11 October 1990.

10. At its meeting on 14 September 1990, the Working Group heard the Comptroller of UNRWA who submitted an up-to-date report on the financial situation of the Agency (see section III below).


III. FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST

11. In 1989, the Agency received sufficient funding to enable it to implement its regular programme, except for construction. Expenditure on the regular programme amounted to some $222 million but only $1.7 million was received for construction out of a budgeted total of $11.3 million. In addition, since 1988 the Agency has delivered emergency-related programmes in Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip costing some $35 million a year from funds specially contributed for those purposes. At the end of 1989, there was a balance of $29 million in the General Fund, slightly less than the balance at the beginning of 1988, representing an operational reserve sufficient to maintain regular operations for a period of about six weeks. The fund to finance ongoing emergency operations in three of the five fields of operation showed a balance at the end of 1989 of only $10 million.

12. According to present indications, it appears that the Agency will receive sufficient income to finance the essential part of its regular programme throughout 1990. As in 1989, however, the construction budget remains largely unfunded. To date, only one single contribution amounting to $317,000 has been received out of a total budgeted expenditure of $12 million. Once again, much-needed construction will have to be postponed. In addition, the Agency maintained three emergency-related programmes financed from the Extraordinary Measures for Lebanon and the Occupied Territory Fund (EMLOT), the Expanded Programme of Activities in the Occupied Territory Fund and the Gaza Hospital Fund respectively. The Fund for Extraordinary Measures, which finances emergency operations such as the provision of food and additional medical and relief services, is seriously underfunded. At present, an additional $10 million is urgently needed to finance operations until the end of 1990. The Expanded Programme of Activities in the Occupied Territory Fund, which was established in 1988 to fund a $65 million programme of infrastructural improvements, especially in the camps, is still short some $35 million in contributions and pledges. Contributions to the Gaza Hospital Fund, which was established this year to finance a very much-needed general hospital of 200 beds in Gaza and running costs for three years, have so far amounted to only $7 million out of the total of $35 million required.

13. The Agency's budget for its regular programme in 1991 4/ provides for a total expenditure of $254.6 million, an increase of approximately 5 per cent over projected expenditure for 1990 of $242.3 million. This increase necessarily reflects the need to provide services for an increase in the number of beneficiaries, especially in education, and to meet unavoidable salary and price increases. As always, the budget is constructed on the basis of a number of assumptions relating to prices and exchange rates; any changes in these elements will inevitably affect the level of the budget. Nevertheless, it now appears that some $255 million will be needed to finance the regular programme in 1991. Of this amount, $15.7 million is required for capital projects or construction.

14. The outlook for the Agency's three emergency-related programmes in 1991 is particularly disturbing. The Extraordinary Measures for Lebanon and the Occupied Territory Fund may end the year 1990 with a deficit of some $10 million, unless that amount is contributed between now and that date. While the Agency may be able to cover deficits of this magnitude for short periods, it does not have sufficient resources of its own to continue the programme indefinitely. At the same time, the Agency is keenly aware of the need for this programme, of the extent to which the beneficiaries rely on it and of the undesirable human and political consequences of either reducing or discontinuing it. The Fund for Expanded Programme of Activities and the Gaza Hospital Fund are still seriously underfunded. In summary, in addition to obtaining contributions to finance a regular programme of $255 million in 1991, the Agency requires $35 million to maintain its emergency measures, a further $35 million to finance its programme of infrastructural improvements and $28 million for the Gaza Hospital.

IV. CONCLUDING REMARKS

15. The Working Group is pleased to note that UNRWA received sufficient funding to deliver the essential parts of its programmes in 1989 and expects to do so again in 1990. It expresses its appreciation to donors, especially to those who increased their contributions, for making this possible. It notes with concern, however, the difficulties experienced in maintaining the required level of contributions to the Extraordinary Measures for the Occupied Territory Fund and the continued underfunding of the Expanded Programme of Assistance to the Occupied Territory Fund and the Gaza Hospital Fund. It is particularly concerned that the funding of the Extraordinary Measures, one of the Agency's most important programmes, has been exhausted and that there may be a deficit of some $10 million at the end of 1990 unless additional contributions are forthcoming before then. It therefore urges Governments to respond as generously as possible to the recent special appeal by the Commissioner-General. It also notes with concern that, yet again, the Agency s construction programme was largely unfunded in 1989 and, so far, has attracted only one contribution in 1990. As the Working Group has pointed out before, this means further postponement of much-needed construction which is bound to affect the quality of the Agency's services.

16. The Working Group commends the Commissioner-General for his efforts at fund-raising. These include regular visits to donor countries as well as informal meetings in Vienna with major donors and others to explain the Agency programmes and to discuss its problems. The Commissioner-General has thus maintained and strengthened the relationship between UNRWA and its donors, which is indispensable if it is to surmount the very difficult problems it faces in sustaining financial support.

17. The Working Group shares the Commissioner-General's concern about the funding prospects for 1991. The Agency's expenditure in its regular programme is once again expected to increase by 5 per cent in order to meet the needs of an increased number of beneficiaries, especially in education, and to cover unavoidable increases in prices and staff salaries. While the Working Group is confident that the Commissioner-General will continue to keep a close watch on expenditures and to improve administrative efficiency, it seems inevitable that an increase in contributions will be necessary to cover expected expenditure on the regular programme. The Working Group is particularly concerned at the state of funding for the emergency-related programmes financed under the Extraordinary Measures for Lebanon and the Occupied Territory Fund, the Expanded Programme of Activities in the Occupied Territory Fund and the Gaza Hospital Fund. There can be no doubt that these programmes are vital to the well-being of the refugee population and others in need in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza and that their discontinuance or any reduction in them could have disturbing humanitarian and political consequences. A special effort is therefore called for to secure contributions, especially in support of the ongoing emergency operations financed out of the Fund for Extraordinary Measures, which are currently running at an annual cost of some $35 million. While placing special emphasis on securing funding for that project, the Working Group does not want in any way to diminish the need for contributions in support of the Expanded Programme of Activities in the Occupied Territory Fund and for the Gaza Hospital Fund, both of which address high priority needs and require $35 million and $28 million respectively to enable full implementation. The Working Group expresses the hope that Governments will respond favourably by contributing sufficient funds to ensure the full delivery of the services under the regular programme and the Extraordinary Measures for Lebanon and the Occupied Territory Fund and to enable the Gaza Hospital project to be started as well as additional projects under the Expanded Programme of Activities in the Occupied Territory Fund.

18. The Working Group therefore strongly urges all Governments to bear in mind the foregoing considerations when deciding upon the level of their contributions for 1991. In particular it urges that:

(a) Governments that have not yet contributed to UNRWA should start to do so;

(b) Governments that have so far made only relatively small contributions should increase their contributions;

(c) Governments that in the past have made generous contributions to UNRWA should continue to do so and should strive to increase them;

(d) Governments should consider making special additional contributions in support of the emergency-related programmes in Lebanon and in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that would not affect their contributions to the regular programme;

(e) Governments should consider making special additional contributions for construction projects that would not affect their contributions to the regular programme.

Notes

1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-fifth Session, Annexes, agenda item 35, document A/8264; ibid., Twenty-sixth Session, Annexes, agenda item 38, document A/8476; ibid., Twenty-seventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 40, document A/8849; ibid., Twenty-eighth Session, Annexes, agenda item 43, document A/9231; ibid., Twenty-ninth Session, Annexes, agenda item 38, document A/9815; ibid., Thirtieth Session, Annexes, agenda item 54, document A/10268 and A/10334; ibid., Thirty-first Session, Annexes, agenda item 53, document A/31/279; ibid., Thirty-second Session, Annexes, agenda item 55, document A/32/278; ibid., Thirty-third Session, Annexes, agenda item 50, document A/33/320; ibid., Thirty-fourth Session, Annexes, agenda item 50, document A/34/567; ibid., Thirty-fifth Session, Annexes, agenda item 53, document A/35/579; ibid., Thirty-sixth Session, Annexes, agenda item 60, document A/36/615; ibid., Thirty-seventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 65, document A/37/591; ibid., Thirty-eighth Session, Annexes, agenda item 73, document A/38/558; ibid., Thirty-ninth Session, Annexes, agenda item 75, document A/39/575; ibid., Fortieth Session, Annexes, agenda item 79, document A/40/736; ibid., Forty-first Session, Annexes, agenda item 79, document A/41/702; ibid., Forty-second Session, Annexes, agenda item 79, document A/42/633; and ibid., Forty-third Session, Annexes, agenda item 76, document A/43/702.

2/ Resolutions 2791 (XXVI) of 6 December 1971, 2964 (XXVII) of 13 December 1972, 3090 (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3330 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3419 (XXX) of 8 December 1975, 31/15 C of 23 November 1976, 32/90 D of 13 December 1977, 33/112 D of 18 December 1978, 34/52 D of 23 November 1979, 35/13 D of 3 November 1980, 36/146 E of 16 December 1981, 37/120 A of 16 December 1982, 38/83 B of 15 December 1983, 39/99 B of 14 December 1984, 40/165 B of 16 December 1985, 41/69 B of 3 December 1986, 42/69 B of 2 December 1987 and 43/57 B of 6 December 1988.

3/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-fourth Session, Annexes, agenda item 76, document A/44/641.

4/ Ibid., Forty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 13A (A/45/13/Add.1).


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