NEW YORK, Friday, June 2, 2023 (WAFA) – The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, warned today that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is on the brink of financial collapse, calling on donor countries to assume their responsibilities and support UNRWA to fulfill its mandate towards Palestine refugees.
Speaking at a meeting of the General Assembly dedicated to pledging to UNRWA, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Guterres said, “We meet every year – and every year we face the same paradox,” Guterres said. “On the one hand, we are all aware of the essential role UNRWA plays as a safety net for the most vulnerable, a pillar of regional stability, a catalyst for development, an important tool for conflict prevention, and a lifeline of hope and opportunity for millions.”
He added, “On the other hand, we allow UNRWA to remain stuck in a financial bind, and the growing needs are matched by stagnant funding."
Guterres noted that a number of the UNRWA's major and most reliable donors have recently announced that they may reduce their contributions, adding: "This is very worrying. The agency is already running, with a shortfall of nearly $75 million. Let's be clear: UNRWA is on the verge of financial collapse."
"When the future of UNRWA is in the balance, so will the lives of millions of Palestine refugees who depend on its basic services," said the UNRWA Secretary-General.
Guterres stated in his speech: "UNRWA was established to support one of the first humanitarian operations of the United Nations in nearly 75 years, and the prospect of peace remains elusive. And if anything, it is receding," noting that the past year 2022 was the deadliest for Palestinians since the UN-OCHA began systematically documenting casualty figures in 2005.
He said, "There is no alternative to a political solution that achieves the vision of two states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security, and Jerusalem is the capital of the two states. The broad lines of this solution are known: they are mentioned in United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements."