Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt pledged on Friday to increase its funding to the UN Refugee and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and to provide a total of NOK 1.1 billion ($124 million) over a period of four years.
“I am deeply concerned about UNRWA’s financial situation. UNRWA plays a key role in ensuring that the rights and basic needs of Palestine refugees are met and promoting stability in the Middle East. This is why Norway is now increasing its funding for UNRWA and will provide a total of NOK 1.1 billion over a period of four years,” said Huitfeldt.
The announcement was made at a meeting in Oslo between Huitfeldt and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini. Huitfeldt announced that her country will enter into agreements on the provision of NOK 700 million over four years to UNRWA’s core budget and NOK 400 million over four years to support UNRWA’s humanitarian programming. Norwegian humanitarian assistance will include efforts to protect children and initiatives to combat sexual and gender-based violence.
Over the past few years, acute funding shortfalls have undermined UNRWA’s ability to carry out its vital work.
“UNRWA’s ability to provide services is important for stability in the Middle East. Norway recognizes this and will continue to give priority to providing support to the agency, in solidarity with the refugees. These multi-year agreements will provide greater predictability and make it easier for UNRWA to plan its operations and spending. I call on other donors to increase their funding as well,” said Huitfeldt.