Today, the Government of Cyprus contributed EUR 100,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency's core programmes and services to Palestine refugees. The contribution was presented to UNRWA by the Representative of Cyprus to the State of Palestine Dr. Demetris Assos.
Reiterating Cyprus' continued support for UNRWA services, Dr Assos stated: "On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, I would like to express my appreciation for the remarkable and tireless efforts carried out by UNRWA. Cyprus will continue supporting the Agency's indispensable activities in providing vital services and humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees. Traditionally our annual contribution to UNRWA is made through our Permanent Mission in New York, but this year we decided to make the donation here at the headquarter of UNRWA in Jerusalem in order to underscore the importance of supporting the mission of the Agency here in its actual field of operations."
Mr. Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships, said: "This donation comes at a very important time and we are grateful for the support of the Government of Cyprus. Funding of our core programmes and services allows the Agency to support health and education professionals, as well as provide other vital functions to millions of Palestine refugees across the Middle East. On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to thank the Government of Cyprus for its continued funding to the Agency and its backing of Palestine refugees."
Cyprus recently joined the dozens of states that participated in the International Ministerial Conference on UNRWA in Brussels on 16 November 2021. Those in attendance extended their strong continuing support to UNRWA where several states proceeded to pledge additional financial support for the Agency to bridge its current funding shortfall. Cyprus is continuing to support Palestine refugees and with this donation has contributed almost EUR 500,000 to UNRWA since 2016.
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 5.7 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.