Norway increasing its support to UNRWA

‘UNRWA is the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza. The war, accusations made by Israel, continuous attacks on the organisation and funds withheld by major donors, have put UNRWA in an extremely difficult financial situation. In this context, it is of importance that Norway is increasing our support by NOK 100 million,’ said Minister of International development Anne Beathe Kristiansen Tvinnereim.

Bilde av UNRWAs sjef på pressekonferanse med utviklingsministeren og utenriksministeren
Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, at the press conference with Minister of International development Anne Beathe Kristiansen Tvinnereim and Foreign Minister Espen Barthe Eide. Credit: UD

The new funding was announced as Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, is visiting Norway. The NOK 100 million (approximately USD 10 million) comes in addition to the NOK 275 million Norway contributed earlier this year.

Since the war in Gaza started 7 October 2023, nearly 200 UNRWA staff members have been killed. The organisation’s staff, schools and hospitals are under daily attacks. UNRWA’s headquarter in East Jerusalem has been attacked multiple times. Furthermore, administrative impediments are placed on the organization, making it increasingly difficult for UNRWA to operate in Palestine.

‘UNRWA and other UN organisations’ ability to deliver much needed humanitarian aid, including health care and education, to people living amid war and conflict, is fundamental in a world order based on international law. UNRWA represents the international community’s commitment to Palestine refugees until a political solution is found. Therefore, Norway and other countries must guard and support the organisation,’ said Foreign Minister Espen Barthe Eide.

UNRWA was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949. Since then, UNRWA has provided basic services such as education, health care, shelter and humanitarian aid to six million Palestinian refugees in Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. UNRWA’s ability to carry out its mandate relies on predictable funding, and is crucial on an individual level, but also to the stability in the entire Middle East.