London, March 16th 2018
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is gravely concerned at the reports coming from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) donor conference on Thursday March 15th 2018 in Rome. Jordan, Egypt and Sweden co-hosted the emergency donor conference to try to make up for the funding shortfall.
The January 2018 decision by the Trump Administration to cut more than half of its funding to the agency led to UNRWA’s spokesperson Christopher Gunness to announce that the US aid cut is causing the agency’s biggest funding crisis in its history.
This UN agency is mandated to provide services to over 5 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East (Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria). Assistance includes primarily food aid, shelter, education and health-related services. The reduction in funding is already affecting all sectors across UNRWA’s areas of operation.
UNRWA had pledged for the donor conference in Rome $ 446 million to fill the gap. Recent reports confirm that the UN was able to obtain only $100 million from donors, which leaves the agency in a severe funding crisis and uncertainty for the future of Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinian Return Centre calls on the international community to step up their efforts to contribute with funds to support UNRWA. Equally important is to affirm the necessity of the independence and sustainability of the Agency's financial resources, as well as to neutralize funding from any political agenda that runs counter to the fundamental principles of the United Nations and its bodies.