Spain doubles its contribution to UNRWA's emergency appeal

Madrid, 25 April 2007. At a meeting with the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd on Tuesday 24 April, Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos announced a 100% increase to UNRWA's Emergency Appeal in the occupied Palestinian territory for 2007. Spain's support to UNRWA's emergency activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will amount to EUR 4 million this year.

In 2007, the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation will maintain a EUR 6.2 million contribution to UNRWA's regular budget while doubling their contribution to the Agency's Emergency activities in the oPt. As regards to the Spanish decentralised cooperation (regional governments), the Agency expects to receive approximately EUR 1.5 million for funding new projects, mainly in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The total contribution from Spain in 2007 to UNRWA would then be at least EUR 11.5 million.

Mr. Moratinos congratulated the Commissioner-General for the excellent work realised by the Agency and expressed his commitment to maintain and increase Spain's contribution to support the efforts of UNRWA in providing education, healthcare, social services and emergency aid to 4.4 million Palestine refugees living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Minister Moratinos also mentioned his government's interest in UNRWA's major reform efforts currently underway and the possibility of seconding a Spanish expert to the Agency to assist in this process.

Ms. Koning AbuZayd thanked Spain for its continuous support to the improvement of Palestine refugees' living conditions and conveyed her congratulations to the Spanish Committee of UNRWA for its dynamism in raising funds and awareness from Spanish regional governments and civil society.

In the last four years the Spanish government and its regions have more than tripled their financial support to UNRWA, from EUR 3 million in 2003 to EUR 11 million at the present time. Spain has become UNRWA's 8th largest donor thanks to its contributions to the Agency's regular budget, Emergency activities and projects.