Foreign Minister Schallenberg and UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini meet in Vienna, Austria. © 2023 Austria MFA
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, concluded a two-day visit to Vienna, during which he paid tribute to Austria for its critical support to the work of the Agency, with a particular focus on health services and emergency relief in Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Lazzarini met Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and Austria’s Development Agency (ADA), as well as Austrian Parliamentarians.
“By funding UNRWA core services, Austria improves the lives of Palestine Refugees and contributes to regional socio-economic stability. We are very grateful to Austria for its continuous support to the Agency,” the Commissioner-General said.
Foreign Minister Schallenberg confirmed: “Austria will keep up its support to UNRWA so the Agency can fulfil its mandate and continue playing a stabilizing role for the region.”
During his visit, Lazzarini addressed the diplomatic community at the United Nations Office in Vienna and shared updates on the impact of the Agency’s financial crisis on the lives of Palestine Refugees.
At the Bruno Kreisky’s “Living Room” series and at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, he briefed students, academics and civil society representatives about the latest challenges facing Palestine Refugees across the region. In addition, he met with representatives of the OPEC Fund for International Development to discuss the current situation in the region.
In 2022, the Government of Austria contributed an unprecedented EUR 7.8 million to UNRWA, of which EUR 2.7 million were in support of the Agency’s core primary health-care services and EUR 400,000 for the Agency’s core services. This represents a five-fold increase in the level of contribution compared to 2018.
Additionally, Austria contributed EUR 2 million to the Syrian Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal and EUR 2.7 million for the occupied Palestinian territory Emergency Appeal.