14 October 2021
Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) concluded two contribution agreements with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (Fund), to the total amount of US$ 21.5 million. The Fund will provide US$ 20 million to support the Agency’s core services in 2021 and 2022 and US$ 1.5 million for health and hospitalization services to Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
The Agreements were signed by the Director General of the Fund, Mr. Marwan A. Th. Alghanem and by UNRWA Commissioner-General Mr. Philippe Lazzarini during a signing ceremony at Kuwait Fund in Kuwait.
“This generous donation could not have come at a more critical time for Palestine refugees,” said the UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “At a time of immense uncertainty and despair amongst refugee communities, such solidarity from an Arab country brings in a ray of light and a message that they - Palestine refugees - are not alone. Thanks to the support of donors like the Government of Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund, UNRWA is able to continue to provide services for millions of Palestine refugees.”
For the first time in decades, four out of the five areas where UNRWA operates are simultaneously in crisis: Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Lebanon and Syria. Palestine refugees consider the quality education, health services, and social protection they receive from UNRWA as a lifeline to a dignified life. Kuwait has been a supporter of UNRWA greatly contributed to the human development of Palestine refugees for decades.
Mr. Alghanem said, “This contribution aims to ensure that the provision of vital services to Palestinian refugees are not interrupted. This is an affirmation of Kuwait’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and the Government of Kuwait’s commitment to helping Palestine refugees with the most basic needs in order to live a decent life.”
The Kuwait Fund is a leading institution in the Middle East that has played an active role in international development efforts since its establishment in 1961. Kuwait has long been an important donor to UNRWA through its government and through several national institutions such as the Fund. Since its establishment, total contributions provided by the State of Kuwait to the Agency have totaled US4 238 million, enabling UNRWA to continue to provide essential services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
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UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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