Home Politics 03/June/2023 09:02 AM

Pledges at Funding Conference not sufficient to cover UNRWA financial requirements from September onwards

Pledges at Funding Conference not sufficient to cover UNRWA financial requirements from September onwards
The 2023 UNRWA Pledging Conference in New York on 2 June. (UNRWA Photo)

NEW YORK, Saturday, June 3, 2023 (WAFA) - Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) sounded the alarm about the Agency’s deepening funding crisis, saying the pledges announced at this year’s Pledging Conference for UNRWA, convened in New York by the President of the General Assembly, are not sufficient to cover the agency’s financial requirements from September onward.

Collectively, Member States pledged $812.3 million, of which $107.2 million are new contributions.

“While we are grateful for the pledges announced, they are below the funds that the Agency needs to keep over 700 UNRWA schools and 140 clinics open from September onwards,” said Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our partners, including host countries- the refugees’ top supporters- to raise the funds needed” he added.

Some of the Agency’s most committed donors have indicated they will substantially decrease their contributions in 2023.

In a message delivered on behalf of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, he said: “The prospect of peace remains remote. If anything, it is receding.  Halfway into the new year, violence rages on without reprieve. In this darkening picture, UNRWA is one of the few rays of hope. I urge you to nurture and sustain this hope.”

Ahmad Abu Daqqa A 15-year-old UNRWA student parliamentarian from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, spoke at the conference about education: “As children, we find the meaning of childhood only within the pages of our books. UNRWA schools are our only refuge. It’s where we find hope. We have dreams that reach the stars, despite the painful reality of our lives.”

Leen Sharqawi, a student at the UNRWA Nuzha School for Girls in Amman, Jordan, elected student representative and currently the deputy head of the Jordan-wide UNRWA school parliament, emphasized that she represented the voices of more than half a million boys and girls studying in UNRWA schools in the five fields of operation:  Jordan, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Lebanon.  Citing leadership and public speaking as two skills that she has polished in UNRWA schools, she stressed:  “We are not just Palestine refugees — we are children who dream of becoming global citizens and who want to help the world become a better place”.

Palestine Refugees feel the impact of underfunding on their lives every day, said UNRWA in a press statement. It adds to their feeling of abandonment and despair at a time when the prospect for a lasting solution has never been so out of reach.

“Many Member States today also acknowledged that as the Agency will soon mark 75 years, it is high time for a strategic discussion on a sustainable UNRWA, until there is a political solution,” concluded Lazzarini.


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