Government of Austria Contributes EUR 1 million to Support UNRWA health services in the oPt

The Government of Austria has contributed EUR 1 million (US$ 1,157,407) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s health programme in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The Agency operates 143 primary health care facilities across its five fields of operation, 43 of which are in the West Bank and 22 of which are located in Gaza.

Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals on health and standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNRWA delivers basic health services and is responsible for contributing to a healthy living environment for Palestine refugees. UNRWA fielded some 4.9 million patient visits in the West Bank and Gaza during 2017. The Agency’s efforts to provide the best possible health care to Palestine refugees is part of the greater joint mission of the UN and host governments to address the disparities in social determinants of health and to achieve health equity.

The contribution from Austria will contribute to ensure Palestine refugees’ health is protected and the disease burden is reduced. The contribution will go towards ensuring adequate and timely availability of essential medicines and supplies as well as educational materials for UNRWA health centres and clinics in the West Bank and Gaza.

“This contribution is a further, tangible example of Austria’s firm and sustained commitment to human rights for Palestinian refugees, especially of the fundamental human right to adequate health care. This right is a unique and inalienable part of comprehensive human security. As such, it is particularly important during these current, very difficult circumstances in which saving lives is our top priority,” said Dr. Andrea Nasi, Austrian Representative in Ramallah.

“I thank the Austrian government for their steady and generous support to UNRWA. I welcome this new contribution which comes at a time of great need for the Agency,” said Marc Lassouaoui, Chief of Donor Relations, UNRWA Department of External Relations and Communications.

Austria is a long-standing supporter of UNRWA.

Background Information

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)258 90724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org