The General Assembly votes on a Report of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) on UNRWA. The report was adopted with 165 votes in favour, 2 against and 9 abstentions. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has hailed the United Nations General Assembly’s vote on December 13, 2019 in favor of the extension of its mandate until 2023.
“This outcome confirms the international community’s trust in the ability of UNRWA to deliver on the critical mandate of protecting and providing essential services to the millions of Palestine refugees under its care in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria until a just and lasting solution is reached,” said Acting Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Christian Saunders.
“We are extremely grateful to UN Member States for this overwhelming vote of confidence in the Agency,” said Saunders. “Now, we need them to step up their assistance and make available the necessary resources that will enable us to implement the mandate that they have given us.”
UNRWA considers the vote as a confirmation of the strong support that Member States have for the Agency, the stability its services bring to millions of people across the Middle East, and its efficiency in the face of shrinking financial support, partly as a result of a decision by the Agency’s largest donor—the US— to cut its funding in 2018.
UNRWA was established 70 years ago and provides essential services to Palestine refugees based on a mandate given to it by the General Assembly, which is renewed every three years. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA is experiencing the worst financial deficit in its 70 year history and is seeking to overcome a financial gap of nearly US $167 million before the end of the year.