DEAD SEA, JORDAN, Wednesday, November 21, 2018 (WAFA) - Addressing the delegates at the Advisory Commission of host governments and leading donors of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), meeting in Jordan on 19 November, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl lauded the resolve and creativity with which the Agency and the international community addressed its "greatest financial predicament ever".
Krähenbühl paid tribute to the Agency‘s many partners who "rose to the occasion" to help – collectively – reduce the staggering shortfall of $446 million at the start of this year: "Today, I am very pleased to announce that, overall since January, donors contributed or pledged an additional $425 million, bringing our shortfall down to $21 million."
The Commissioner-General explained that, in response to this year‘s profound financial challenge, UNRWA "launched a global campaign called #DignityIsPriceless, bringing about a renewed spirit of multi-lateral cooperation." He continued, "The collective mobilization is deeper and broader than we‘ve seen in decades, accompanied by diplomatic engagement at the highest level." Forty Member States and institutions either increased support or gave new pledges.
"When, thanks to the contribution of many Member states this year, we were able to open the 711 UNRWA schools on time, it was a moment of pure and simple celebration. We celebrated the preservation of the right to education for 530,000 girls and boys, from Aleppo to Rafah in the Gaza Strip," the Commissioner-General said, whilst recalling that together, UNRWA and its partners contributed to one of the most successful human development processes for a refugee community in recent history.
New funding streams under development include a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund and the establishment of an Islamic Waqf.
Krähenbühl also asked donors who had pledged but not yet disbursed additional funding to do so urgently.