Press release | Date: 2018-01-24 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the underfunding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Today Norway has paid its core contribution of NOK 125 million, and I urge other donors to pay their contributions to UNRWA as soon as possible,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The US recently decided to hold back USD 65 million of its core funding to UNRWA.
'I am worried about the humanitarian consequences of UNRWA's inadequate financing given the Palestine refugees' huge need for assistance. This underfunding is further exacerbating what is already a difficult situation for UNRWA and for the Palestine refugees. At the same time, it is positive that the US is paying USD 60 million to UNRWA. The agency is not only doing vitally important work to help the Palestine refugees, but it is also very important for stability in the region. We are following the situation closely, and are in close contact with UNRWA and other donors,' said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Ms Eriksen Søreide talked to UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on Friday 19 January. The financing of UNRWA was also one of the topics Ms Eriksen Søreide discussed in her talks in the Middle East and in the US earlier this month, and at an emergency meeting of the UNRWA Advisory Commission at the weekend.
Norway is a significant donor to UNRWA. It is providing NOK 125 million in core funding to UNRWA in 2018. In addition, Norway provides humanitarian assistance and project support. In 2017, these additional contributions amounted to just over NOK 100 million.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly with the task of providing essential relief to the Palestine refugees. The agency provides health and education services for five million Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The international community has decided that this work is to be carried out by UNRWA pending a solution to the refugee issue as part of the negotiations of a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
You can read more about UNRWA's work here.