UNRWA ANNOUNCES REDUCTION OF INTERNATIONAL PERSONNEL
Today UNRWA announced that 85 per cent of all 137 international personnel on short term contracts will be separated in a phased process which will last until the end of September. 35 per cent of the 137 internationals will see their contracts end in the coming four weeks. Another 50 per cent will end by 30 September without further extension or renewal. UNRWA is taking this measure to reduce costs as much as possible without reducing services to refugees.
UNRWA has a deficit to the end of the year of 101 million USD and we will continue with our robust efforts in resource mobilisation. As things currently stand, with stringent austerity measures already in place beyond today’s announcement, the Agency should be able to continue with life-saving services to the end of the year. These include our health programmes, relief and social services, sanitation and emergency projects for which we have funds. UNRWA’s school system for half a million children across the Middle East in Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria are essential but some difficult decisions may be needed in coming weeks if the deficit is not filled.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees and deepening poverty. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
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