Statement from Minister Tvinnereim on UNRWA

Statement from Minister of International development Anne Beathe Kristiansen Tvinnereim at press conference on Norway increasing its support to UNRWA.

(As delivered)

Thank you, and thank you all for being here.

It's a great honor to welcome our friend, UNRWA's Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini to Norway. You are a true humanitarian. Let me start by expressing our condolences and sympathies for the strains that so many of your co-workers have suffered during the latest months. 200 UNRWA staff have been killed in the war. The situation in Gaza is catastrophic. Almost 2 million have fled their homes. The population is deprived of the most basic needs; safety, shelter, water, food, sanitation and health services. There are no safe places and famine is looming. In the middle of this dire situation. UNRWA's heroic staff are courageously working to provide relief, protection and dignity.

Norway is, as you know, a staunch supporter of UNRWA. So far this year, we have contributed 275 million Norwegian kroner to your work. Due to the financial crisis and the endless needs on the ground, we are now topping up our contribution with another 100 million Norwegian kroner.

For eight months, 600,000 children have been deprived of education. They are on the verge of becoming a lost generation. And Lazarini, you made that point in our conversation before this press conference; it is potentially a lost generation in Gaza. And we appreciate that UNRWA is preparing for what needs to happen as soon as a cease fire is in place, like early recovery and getting the children back to school. Only last week, I visited UNRWA schools and a health clinic in Amman, Jordan. I got the opportunity to see the tremendous work that Philippe and his organization is doing on the ground, not only to provide services, but to provide dignity and to provide hope. Thank you.