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Supporting UN’s Palestine refugee agency, means ‘investing in stability for the region’ |


“It means investing in the economic and social welfare of Palestinian refugees and promoting Sustainable development goals (SDG), ” Secretary General António Guterres told the UN General Assembly especially UNRWA voluntary contribution committee.

“It means investing in the future through the education of children and young people, girls and boys, women and men and… respecting the international community’s commitment to Palestinian refugees. and their rights until a just and lasting political solution is found.”

Beyond the radar

Mr. Guterres invited participants to “imagine for a moment that we are a male or female Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon, or in Syria, or in Jordan, or in Gaza.”

To them, he said, a political solution now seems “more distant than ever” without an active peace process and the Diplomatic Quartet – which includes the UN, the European Union, the United States and the United States. Russia – cannot meet, as relocations and settlements continue.

While the war in Ukraine and other global events have pushed the question of the Palestinians out of the media headlines and political debates, he said the international community needs to “strive to resolve the issue.” all crises with determination”, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Palestinian plight. refugees.

The Secretary-General described supporting UNRWA as not only a “question of justice” but also a “barrier to the progression of extremism” and terrorism.


Many families in Gaza need humanitarian aid to survive and receive food parcels from the UN agency working in the region, UNRWA.

© UNRWA / Hussein Jaber

Many families in Gaza need humanitarian aid to survive and receive food parcels from the UN agency working in the region, UNRWA.

Chronic under-funding

Over the past ten years, the needs of Palestinian refugees have continued to grow even as funding has stagnated.

We are asking for your solidarity and your support,” said Mr. Guterres, calling for a commitment to bridge the gap between UNRWA’s mission and its budget for critical services through the end of the year.

The head of the UN explained the need to put the agency on a “sustainable financial foundation”, requiring stable financing to achieve “sufficient, predictable and sustainable funding”.

“Millions of Palestinian refugees are counting on us to ease their suffering and help them build a better future. We cannot let them down,” he said.

Millions of Palestinian refugees are counting on us to ease their suffering and help them build a better future. UN chief

Two countries, side by side

The Secretary-General also reiterated the importance of efforts to realize Israel and Palestine as two States living together in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both countries.

But until then, UNRWA remains important in assisting those in need, while reminding Member States that they are “committed to joining hands in support of Palestinian refugees” he said. by establishing and supporting this agency.

Mr. Guterres outlined how their contributions will help more than half a million children receive a quality education in UNRWA schools; enabling 140 clinics to provide more than eight million medical consultations each year; and provide cash, food assistance and social services to millions of people in places where poverty rates can exceed 80%.

“Multilateralism requires not only political commitments but also resources to fulfill those commitments,” continued the United Nations chief, pledging to pursue “all avenues to uphold the services to Palestinian refugees in line with UNRWA’s mission.

“Let us pledge to support UNRWA and leave no one behind.”


The World Food Program (WFP) helps combat malnutrition and iron deficiency in Palestine.

WFP

The World Food Program (WFP) helps combat malnutrition and iron deficiency in Palestine.

‘Opposite direction’

Host of the event, Speaker of the National Assembly Abdulla Shahid shown that UNRWA and its budget are “going in opposite directions”.

“Simply put, there is more work to be done, even as financial resources continue to shrink,” he said, noting the $1.6 billion budget gap for 2022.

Current UNRWA requests include additional emergency funding to address humanitarian needs in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon.

To support millions of Palestinian refugees with vital life-saving services and programs, the United Nations official has called on the international community and the United Nations General Assembly to “meet this funding gap.”

Much work remains to be done, even as funding continues to decline Chairman

Besides money

Mr. Shahid begged the ambassadors to “look beyond monetary value” to “commitments, principles and values ​​to global peace and security, to peoples, prosperity and behavior”. pure”.

It is about providing a sense of normalcy for young people who, in their words, ‘didn’t choose to live through war and blockade.“, he said, urging participants to “live up to those commitments because millions of lives and livelihoods depend on us”.

Decade of stagnation

Over the past 10 years, UNRWA’s stagnant funds have caused disruption and unpredictable revenue that has forced the agency to operate for a decade with an average shortfall of around $100 million, the Commissioner-General said. UNRWA member Philippe Lazzarini said

“UNRWA cannot be compared with any other UN humanitarian agency and draws attention to its mandate to provide ‘government-like services’ without the financial tools,” he said. government and finance.

We have exhausted our financial reserves and reached the limit of cost control and austerity measures.“It is currently affecting service quality.

The head of UNRWA stressed that “desperation and hopelessness” were increasing in refugee camps; political, economic and security conditions deteriorated across the West Bank; and Gaza are struggling to recover from the impact of last year’s conflict.


A small child watches over his sleeping toddler siblings in the classroom of UNRWA Salah Eddin School in Gaza.

© 2021 UNRWA / Mohamed Hinnawi

A small child watches over his sleeping toddler siblings in the classroom of UNRWA Salah Eddin School in Gaza.



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