Acting Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Christian Saunders (right), and Japanese Ambassador Magoshi (left) sign two contribution agreements amounting to some US$ 11.5 million in support of UNRWA. 2019 UNRWA Photo by Takuto Kubo
The Government of Japan signed on Saturday two contribution agreements amounting to 1,214,000,000 Japanese Yen (approximately US$ 11.15 million) with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The event took place in Ramallah with the presence of Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine and Keisuke Suzuki, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Of this important contribution which will be disbursed in a few days, JPY 600,000,000 (US$ 5.51 million) will immediately enable UNRWA to continue to provide food assistance to 98,000 Palestine refugees in Gaza through the Social Security Net Program (SSNP) and, thus, help mitigate the impact of poverty and food insecurity to those most in need.
An additional JPY 614,000,000 (US$ 5.64 million) will contribute to the construction of a school in the Gaza Strip that will provide 1,000 students access to quality education. This additional contribution will also support the construction of a sewerage system in Ein el-Sultan camp in the West Bank to improve the living conditions there. Both infrastructure projects will be implemented throughout 2020 and 2021.
“I am very happy to share with you that the Government of Japan has decided to contribute over US$ 11 million to UNRWA at this critical time. We are determined more than ever to send a message to Palestine refugees through the assistance that: ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed. Japan will be there with you.’ At a time when the region is experiencing serious humanitarian crisis,” Ambassador Magoshi said.
The Acting Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Christian Saunders, said: “On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to thank the Government of Japan for its generous contribution in support of vulnerable Palestinian refugees in Gaza and West Bank. We deeply appreciate this very generous and timely support during what is an exceptionally challenging period for the Agency.”
The Government of Japan is a dedicated donor to UNRWA, having supported the Agency since 1953. In 2018, the Government of Japan was the 10th largest contributor to the Agency, playing a critical role at a time when UNRWA faced an existential crisis.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA program budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. 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.