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Updated On: Tuesday, 25 September 2018

UNRWA Pledging Conference

Content by: South-South News

27 June 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — At a pledging conference in New York today, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the failure to provide desperately needed resources to UNRWA comes with a price; “more hardship for communities; more desperation for the region; more instability for our world.”

The pledging conference aimed to raise funds for the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) which supports over five million refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the occupied Palestinian territory.

Guterres said UNRWA has been able to maintain its vital services thanks to $200 million in new funding. He said UNRWA reduced its expenditures by an additional $92 million and reacted swiftly to the funding crisis it faces, but its efforts will not be sufficient to fully close the funding shortfall this year.

Guterres said, “I know too well the pressure you face when demands are great and resources are scarce. But we cannot afford to allow UNRWA’s vital efforts to falter. Failure to provide desperately needed resources comes with a price. More hardship for communities. More desperation for the region. More instability for our world. We need look no further than Gaza to see people who have suffered for too long and whose existence becomes more precarious by the day.”

The UN chief said, “We must do everything possible to ensure that food continues to arrive, that schools remain open and that people do not lose hope.” He stressed that millions of Palestine refugees across the Middle East are counting on the international community to “relieve their suffering and to help them to build a better future.” He urged participants join together to close UNRWA’s funding gap as “a wise investment for today and for the future.”

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said the sudden loss this January of $300 million in funding by its single largest donor created a catastrophic situation for the agency. He said core funding fell by about 32 percent and emergency funding by some 75 percent. He added, “At this point, we do not – I repeat we do not – have the income to ensure that the schools will open on time in August, and in the absence of significant new funding we will have to begin taking very difficult measures in July impacting the level of services as well as our staff.” He said the situation will be particularly critical for emergency operations in the West Bank and in Gaza.

Krähenbühl said 2018 has been a challenging year for UNRWA. He said, over seven decades, UNRWA saw “the pain first-hand, the injustice; it has also seen achievements despite the extreme adversity” and has been an “extraordinarily agile and resilient organization operating in one of the world’s most polarized environments.” He added, “As we mobilize to survive this year, we continue to work with great determination towards improved long-term stability.”



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