Ministerial conference commits $86M to support UNRWA’s vital services

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Commitments made during the Ministerial Conference to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) have reached a minimum of 86 million dollars. This financial support will enable the agency to maintain essential services until at least October of the coming year.اضافة اعلان

Tamara Al-Rifai, the spokesperson for UNRWA, highlighted that the United States pledged 73 million dollars during the conference. However, UNRWA is still awaiting approval from Congress for a 75-million-dollar allocation dedicated to food aid in Gaza, Al Mamlaka TV reported.

During the conference, jointly organized by Jordan and Sweden in New York, Britain pledged approximately 13 million dollars, and Luxembourg pledged half a million dollars, as reported by Al-Rifai.

The pledged amount from Washington, totaling 73 million dollars, will be allocated to a combination of the general budget (covering core programs and salaries), emergency budget, and project budgets, according to Rifai.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, stated, "The United States has contributed over 296 million dollars to UNRWA in 2023 alone, and the Biden administration has contributed approximately a billion dollars since 2021."

Thomas-Greenfield urged other countries to step up their efforts and provide the necessary financial commitments to fund UNRWA until the end of the year.

Following the announcement of these new commitments, Al-Rifai noted that salaries for September and October would be covered, and the agency would continue its efforts to mobilize additional resources for the remainder of the year.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, addressing the conference before the commitments were made, emphasized that the agency still needed between 170 and 190 million dollars to maintain its essential services until the end of the current year. These services encompass education, primary healthcare, and the social safety net.

To address urgent humanitarian needs, the agency requires approximately 100 million dollars urgently to sustain life-saving food and cash assistance programs in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon.

UNRWA has grappled with a chronic funding shortfall for the past decade, and it began the current year with debts totaling 75 million dollars from the 2022 fiscal year.

Established in 1949, UNRWA's mandate is to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestinian refugees in the agency's operational areas until a just and lasting solution is achieved for their plight. UNRWA operates in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

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