Palestinian refugee children stand next to bags of food aid in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. (File photo: Getty Images)
Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Leni Stenseth, and representatives of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) stressed the need for efforts to restore a sense of stability and hope for Palestinian refugees.
This came at the annual High-Level Consultations held in Stockholm last week, during which both parties discussed bilateral longstanding partnership.
During a two-day official mission to Sweden, Deputy Commissioner-General Stenseth also met with senior government officials and parliamentarians to raise awareness on the Agency’s work and the need for continued political and financial support to address the needs of millions of Palestine Refugees in the region.
“Sweden’s continued support for Palestine Refugees reflects its strong commitment to human rights, development and stability,” said Stenseth. “At a time of global upheaval and regional instability, UNRWA keeps a sense of normality in the lives of Palestine Refugees, through the running of schools, health centres and other critical services. We are truly grateful for this partnership with Sweden.”
The annual High-Level Consultations focused on the Agency’s new six-year strategic cycle, its operations and plans to mobilize adequate resources.
Stenseth reiterated the full commitment of UNRWA to deliver services in a way that is professional, transparent and in full compliance with the humanitarian principles.
She expressed concern over how shifting geopolitical priorities and regional dynamics, coupled with the emergence of new humanitarian crises, have deprioritized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its consequences on Palestine Refugees.
Stenseth also emphasized the Agency’s role in providing a sense of stability and hope in refugee communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
The visit to Stockholm was also an opportunity to meet the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament, the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Palestine, as well as Ambassador Rula Almhaissen, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Kingdom of Sweden.
Sweden is a key financial and political partner of UNRWA. In 2022, Sweden contributed US$ 60.9 million to the Agency, ranking 4th among the Agency’s overall donors.