oPt + 2 more

Minister Bibeau announces new funding to support the needs of vulnerable Palestinian refugees

November 16, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced funding to support education, health and social services for millions of vulnerable Palestinian refugees, as well as urgent humanitarian assistance.

Canada is providing $20 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to help increase access to these essential services. Canada is also committing $5 million to UNRWA’s emergency appeal for Palestinian refugees impacted by the crisis in Syria and surrounding areas.

These contributions will help approximately 5.5 million Palestinian refugees—particularly women and children—receive the assistance they need, including access to health care and the opportunity to go to school.

With this funding, Canada joins all other G7 countries in supporting UNRWA’s efforts to meet the ever increasing needs of Palestinian refugees, assists in providing basic services for vulnerable people, and contributes to stability in the region.

It is critically important to the government of Canada that development aid is used for its intended purpose and that it reaches those in greatest need. As such, there will be enhanced due diligence applied to UNRWA funding. Today’s funding is accompanied by a very robust oversight and reporting framework, which includes regular site visits and strong anti-terrorism provisions. A proportion of Canadian funding will also be used to expand training for staff on the proper and neutral use of social media.

Canada’s support for Palestinian refugees is reinforced by its international leadership to provide humanitarian assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable.


“Millions of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East have the right to receive basic services such as health care and to send their children to school. We want to see Palestinian refugee children in classrooms where they can learn universal values of tolerance and respect. Vulnerable Palestinians deserve all the opportunities they can to contribute positively to their communities and Canada’s funding will help to better the lives of millions of refugees.”

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Quick facts

  • UNRWA is the only UN agency mandated to provide services to Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees do not receive any services from other United Nations agencies.
  • UNRWA receives broad international support as all other G7 countries fund the agency.
  • Prior to 2012, Canada had been a consistent contributor to UNRWA since its creation in 1949.
  • Canada’s $20 million announcement will contribute to providing basic education for approximately half a million Palestinian refugee girls and boys in 685 schools, operating 137 primary health care facilities and supporting refugee women through 61 program centres.
  • Canada’s $5 million contribution to UNRWA’s humanitarian appeal for the Syria regional crisis will help provide emergency life-saving assistance to more than 450,000 Palestinian refugees affected by the conflict in Syria and surrounding region.

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Bernard Boutin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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