Question of Palestine home
1 April 1985
Item 79 of the preliminary list*
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR
PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST
Letter dated 27 March 1985 from the Chairman of the the Working Group on the Financing
of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
addressed to the Secretary-General
The Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), whose chairmanship I assumed at its 88th meeting on l March 1985, was urgently convened at the request of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in order to receive up-to-date information about the alarming financial crisis jeopardizing the continued functioning of the Agency. The Working Group heard a detailed report by the Comptroller of UNRWA and agreed to take several measures to assist the Commissioner-General in his fund-raising efforts. A special report of the Working Group (A/40/207) has been prepared and will be distributed.
The Commissioner-General has informed the Working Group that expected income in 1985 falls far short of what is required to maintain the Agency's services to Palestine refugees until the end of the year. As you are aware, the Commissioner-General has already made drastic cuts in the operating budget for 1985, thus reducing expenditures by $40 million. There remains, however, a cash requirement of $27 million that must be assured by this coming May. It is clear that the Commissioner-General, having made every effort to reduce expenditures, must rely on additional voluntary contributions in order to bridge this gap.
If this amount cannot be raised, the consequences will undoubtedly be most serious: services to the refugees would have to be reduced, inevitably affecting the much-valued education programme, and the continued employment of many of the 17,000 locally-recruited Palestinian staff would be jeopardized.
The members of the Working Group are convinced that the international community must be made aware of the Agency's critical financial situation and of the urgent need for additional funds if the Agency is to continue to play its vital humanitarian and political role in the Middle East.
The members of the Working Group are aware of your strong support of UNRWA in the past and of your efforts in this critical hour. They have asked me to convey to you and to the members of the Organization their deepest concern about this alarming situation and to inform you of their endorsement of the Commissioner-General's urgent appeal for $27 million, to which they urge a timely and generous response. The Working Group also authorized me to take whatever other steps are possible to assist, in consultation with you and the Commissioner-General, in efforts to raise additional funds.
I would be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 79 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
) Ilter TURKMEN
Chairman of the
Working Group on the Financing
of the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East
*A/40/50 and Corr.1.