UNRWA Receives $77 Million Over the Last 3 Years

Published December 19th, 2019 - 08:11 GMT
UNRWA Receives $77 Million Over the Last 3 Years
The UN extended the work of its Palestinian refugee agency for another three years. (Shutterstock)
UNRWA’s deficit for 2019 decreased from $167 million to $90 million

Over the past three weeks, UNRWA received $77 million from more than 20 countries and partners, the UN agency announced on Wednesday.

The sum includes amounts transferred from countries that froze their donations for 2019 at the instigation of an investigation supervised by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services, according to an UNRWA statement.

When the investigation concluded that there was no corruption or financial misuse in the agency, these countries mobilized their funding to UNRWA. 

In light of these positive developments, UNRWA’s deficit for 2019 decreased from $167 million to $90 million, the statement said, adding that several countries stressed that they would provide more funds to the agency before the end of the year. 

“We currently and immediately need a total of $167 million to provide the bare minimum of our services, without which we cannot survive,” UNRWA Acting Commissioner General Christian Saunders said in November on the sidelines of UNRWA’s advisory committee opening at the Dead Sea.

Saunders added that the cumulative fiscal deficit of the agency amounts to $322 million, which it needs in order to operate its programs and activities.

While he called on donor countries to fulfill their commitments by donating to UNRWA, Saunders expressed his appreciation for the role Jordan plays in defending the agency and urging the international community to provide financial support.

The UN extended the work of its Palestinian refugee agency for another three years, despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel.

The current mandate was due to run out in June 2020, but 169 countries approved a renewal up to 2023 at the UN General Assembly, with the US and Israel voting against it and nine countries abstaining.

In Jordan, over 2.1 million registered Palestinian refugees distributed among 10 camps benefit from the agency’s services and financial aid.

The agency runs 169 schools in the Kingdom — where some 120,000 students are enrolled — as well as a faculty of science and educational arts, 25 primary healthcare centers and other services.

In 2018, the US suspended and later cut all funding for UNRWA, causing a financial crisis that threatened to see its schools and hospitals closed.

UNRWA was set up after more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands during the 1948 war.

It provides schooling and medical services to millions of impoverished refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Palestinian territories, and employs around 30,000 people, most of whom Palestinians.

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