Refugees at a makeshift camp between Syria and Jordan on 1 March 2017 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images]
The European Union (EU) renewed its commitment to supporting the work carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), with a EUR 12.6 million contribution targeting Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan.
UNRWA said in a press release issued on Wednesday that the move comes as part of a larger EUR 43.2 million contribution to the Agency’s emergency operations aimed at “Strengthening the Resilience of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon”, in 2020 through 2021, and tailored also to support Palestinian refugees coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU increased the initial allocation for 2020-21 with additional EUR 7.2 million in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
This new funding, from the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis (the EU MADAD Fund), will enable UNRWA Jordan field emergency operations to provide continued services to some 17,500 Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan. It includes regular unconditional cash assistance for families to cover their essential food and non-food item needs, as well as conditional emergency cash support to Palestinian refugees from Syria for unforeseen emergencies, enabling them to cope with their difficult economic situation in a safe way.
With the new funding, the EU continues to be a strategic and predictable partner to UNRWA, recognizing the vital work carried out by the Agency in meeting the basic needs of Palestinian refugees in the region.
“This additional assistance from the EU Trust Fund comes at the right time to support the efforts of UNWRA in addressing emergency operations for Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Jordan, following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular through support to livelihood and protection services,” stressed the EU Ambassador to Jordan, Maria Hadjitheodosiou.
“This assistance underlines, once more, that the European Union and its Member States are the largest contributors and most reliable supporters of UNWRA, an essential provider of vital services to millions of Palestine refugees in the region”, she added.
Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Mohammed Adar expressed his appreciation to the EU for its continuous support to UNRWA saying: “On behalf of the Agency, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the longstanding partnership with the European Union. This generous contribution will help UNRWA to ensure that Palestine refugees from Syria are able to meet their basic needs and mitigate further deterioration in their humanitarian conditions.”
“It is more important than ever, under this uncertain environment due to the COVID-19 crisis, that we must work hand-in-hand to help the vulnerable Palestine refugees overcome major livelihood and economic challenges that they face every day,” he reiterated.
Over the past five decades, the partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has evolved, with the EU and its Member States becoming the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees, representing more than half of UNRWA’s overall budget since 2019, and a key strategic partner committed to supporting UNRWA in the absence of a just and durable solution to the plight of Palestine refugees.