The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) announced a US$ 18 million contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of its core resources for 2021 and 2022. The total contribution of US$ 18 million will be disbursed in multiple tranches, with US$ 10 million in 2021 and US$ 8 million in 2022. Qatar is the first Arab country to have ever signed a multi-year agreement with UNRWA in 2018 - with the previous agreement covering core UNRWA resources throughout 2019 and 2020.
Furthermore, QFFD has contributed US$ 7 million to UNRWA in support of its emergency programme in Syria. This generous contribution will cover urgently needed cash assistance, education, health and vocational training programme for Palestine refugees in Syria.
The general situation in Syria is still causing immense challenges for Palestine refugees. This contribution from QFFD comes at a much-needed time due to the deteriorating living situation and difficult socioeconomic conditions inside Syria which are further impacting an already vulnerable Palestine refugee population, with increasing levels of poverty and food insecurity, as well as fuel and electricity shortages.
During his visit to Doha, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini signed the partnership agreement with QFFD Director General, HE Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari. “UNRWA is extremely proud of its partnership with QFFD and the government of Qatar,” said Mr. Lazzarini. “Their regular support over several decades has greatly contributed to the Agency’s ability to deliver health, education and lifesaving services to Palestine refugees.” In commenting on the timeliness of this outstanding show of support, he said: “At a time of intense pressure on our Agency, the generosity of the government of Qatar and QFFD sends a clear message of solidarity to the Palestine refugees.”
UNRWA is intensifying its outreach to donors and partners ahead of the International Conference on UNRWA that will be held in Brussels on 16 November under the chairmanship of Jordan and Sweden. The conference is seeking to establish a plan whereby the international community provides the Agency with sufficient and sustainable funding to allow the continuation and modernization of the services that Palestine refugees receive as part of the UNRWA mandate from the United Nations General Assembly.
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 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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