UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation.
Sweden contributed US$ 49.4 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as part of two multi-year agreements with the Agency for 2020.
According to a statement by UNRWA, US$ 45.3 million (SEK 423 million) will support the Agency’s core human development services of health, relief, and protection, as well as education for half a million children in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
An additional US$ 4.1 million will support UNRWA emergency operations in Syria (US$ 1.5 million) and the occupied Palestinian territory (US$ 2.6 million).
Sweden’s oPt appeal contribution will help UNRWA address the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, through interventions such as emergency food assistance, emergency health, and cash-for-work, as well as the promotion and protection of the rights of refugees.
In Syria – and for Palestine refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan - Sweden’s generous financial support will be used to provide, in particular, cash assistance and emergency education to refugees in dire need of aid.
“In the increasingly challenging environment that Palestine refugees across the region live in, it is paramount that UNRWA continues to deliver critical human development and humanitarian aid to those who need it the most”, said Marc Lassouaoui, Chief of UNRWA Donor Relations Division.
“We are deeply grateful to Sweden for its steadfast support throughout the decades and the predictability of its funding thanks to multi-year agreements for both core and emergency operations. I am particularly thankful to Sweden for disbursing this generous funding at the beginning of 2020, at a time when funds are usually lacking. In view of the Agency’s financial situation, this large contribution made early in the year sends an important message to the international community,” added Lassouaoui.
Sweden is the fourth-largest donor to UNRWA. Beyond this, Sweden has always been a strong political advocate for UNRWA, as exemplified by its co-chairing of ministerial-level meetings on UNRWA.
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 program budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.