A high-level Romanian delegation led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bogdan Aurescu, visited the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Jordan on 4 April and met with Ms. Leni Stenseth, Deputy Commissioner-General of UNRWA, and Ms. Marta Lorenzo, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan. The delegation discussed the socio-economic situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan and the other fields of UNRWA operations, as well as the importance of protecting and strengthening the Agency’s humanitarian and development services to this vulnerable population, especially in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, protracted conflicts in the region, and recurrent funding crises.
In the meeting, Minister Aurescu said: “Romania appreciates the important work of UNRWA in providing assistance and basic services to Palestine refugees in the region. In recognition of this and the Agency’s call for sustained financial and political support, I am pleased to announce a new contribution of EUR 150,000 to UNRWA to support the delivery of core services.”
The funds from Romania will go towards education and health-care services in all five fields of UNRWA operation and help to ensure uninterrupted service delivery, especially now as UNRWA is facing a difficult financial crisis.
Ms. Leni Stenseth said: “We are grateful for our partnership with Romania and for the timely announcement of this new contribution as we intensify our efforts to mobilize the international community around developing a forward-looking and sustainable vision for UNRWA to effectively protect and assist Palestine refugees, pending a just solution to their plight.”
Ms. Marta Lorenzo said: “We are very grateful for the opportunity to engage with Romania on the situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan, including those who have been displaced from Syria. This community deserves the continued support of our international partners, especially as the impact of COVID-19 dramatically reverses their development opportunities.”
Romania has been a financial contributor to UNRWA since 2007, providing support to the Agency’s core services, as well as emergency support to flash appeals in response to humanitarian needs arising from conflict in Gaza as well as displacement in Lebanon.
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.
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