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Critical for education and health services to Palestinian refugees

‘There is a major shortfall in funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It is unclear whether UNRWA will be able to continue to provide education and health services through to the end of the year. Norway has therefore allocated an additional NOK 22 million in support to UNRWA this year,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

This support comes in addition to the NOK 275 million that Norway disbursed earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt together with students at one of UNRWA's schools in Amman. Credit: Guri Solberg/MFA
Amman in August: Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt met students at one of UNRWA's schools. Credit: Guri Solberg/MFA

In connection with the renewal of UNRWA's mandate in the UN General Assembly this autumn, donors agreed to continue to provide assistance to the approximately 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. UNRWA provides schooling, health services, shelter, food aid and social services. UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees have been hit hard by the steep rise in prices for food and fuel, and by the decrease in contributions from many donors.

‘UNRWA thanks the Government of Norway for heeding our call for urgent funding as we work hard to cover critical funding gaps before the end of year. This contribution could not have come at a better time. As one of the Agency’s top donors – with its largest-ever contribution this year – the flexible, multi-year funding from Norway allows the Agency to use it where the needs are most acute among Palestine refugees across all our areas of operations,’ said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzerini.

‘UNRWA’s ability to provide basic services such as schooling and health care is essential to Palestinian refugees in need of these. It also plays an important role in promoting regional stability in the Middle East. Norway will continue to work to achieve more sustainable financing for the Agency, and we urge other donors to increase their contributions,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.