Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Government of Italy signed an EUR 2 million agreement in support of Palestine refugee students in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The agreement was signed at the UNRWA Jerusalem Girls' School and was attended by the Italian Consul General in Jerusalem, H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Fedele, the Director of AICS, Mr. Guglielmo Giordano, and the UNRWA Director of Partnerships, Karim Amer.
Education plays a crucial role to support the children and the youth of the West Bank to develop their full potential. This project, with the support of the Italian Government, will ensure an adequate environment for 46,000 UNRWA school students in the West Bank, guaranteeing that 96 UNRWA schools are capable and ready to identify child protection issues and provide necessary support, as well as improving the service delivery of education and promote students’ digital literacy.
This support comes in addition to the EUR 1 million the Government of Italy contributed towards health and protection services for Palestine refugees in Syria. This generous funding will enable UNRWA to sustain the provision of primary, secondary and tertiary health care at 23 of its health centres and health points. In addition, the contribution will help the Agency to extend its protection services and awareness programming over the next 12 months by covering one staff member and supporting various protection activities, trainings and workshops.
“Over the years, Italy has proven to be a reliable and longstanding supporter of UNRWA, its mandate and activities across all fields of operation. By working to meet both the basic core service requirements and the longer-term needs of more than five million Palestine refugees, UNRWA continues to serve as an essential anchor of stability in the region,” said Giuseppe Fedele, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem.
“Through these generous contributions, the Government of Italy has demonstrated its longstanding commitment to Palestine refugees across the Middle East. In particular, understanding the vital importance education plays in supporting the children and the youth of the West Bank to develop their full potential,” said Mr. Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships. “The breadth of contributions the Government of Italy is giving in support of UNRWA showcases their importance as a key donor to the Agency and its backing of all Palestine refugees.”
In 2021, the Government of Italy has provided predictable and diverse funding to UNRWA supporting activities across the Agency’s priorities.
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 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestine refugees who lost both their homes and livelihood because of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and in need of significant support for over seventy years. UNRWA helps them achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.