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Minister Coveney announces additional funding of €1m to UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., today announced additional humanitarian funding of €1 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 

The additional funding will help support UNRWA’s valuable work in addressing the humanitarian and development needs of 5.7 million Palestine refugees, providing emergency assistance across UNRWA’s five fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A key aspect of UNRWA’s work in 2020 will be to address the humanitarian impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Palestinian communities.

This contribution represents a further demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to responding to the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian people, especially in this year of unprecedented global humanitarian challenges. 

 Announcing the additional funding for UNRWA, Minister Simon Coveney T.D. said:

“Earlier this month, I had a long discussion with the new Commissioner General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, during which he outlined the significant daily challenges faced by Palestine refugees; their overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and the effects of years of protracted occupation and conflict, on these communities who are particularly susceptible to the pandemic.

He described the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the health and education systems for which Palestine refugees are so dependent and underlined the need for additional financial resources to ensure that delivery of these critical services continue.

 I am pleased, therefore, to announce that Ireland is providing a further €1 million for UNRWA’s Programme Budget to support the Agency in delivering critical services, at a time of unprecedented challenges. These additional funds bring Ireland’s total funding to UNRWA this year to €8 million.”

The Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy T.D., added:

 “Ireland has been a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian people and this additional funding being provided to UNRWA underlines our support for Palestine refugees, whom we recognise are significantly impacted by the worsening socioeconomic conditions. This funding will support UNRWA in continuing its critical work as it faces increased pressures in combating and mitigating the potentially devastating impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on an already vulnerable community.”

ENDS

Press Office

19 November 2020

 

Note to editors

Spanning more than two decades, Ireland’s support to Palestine reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. It is estimated that there are some 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

With this additional funding, a total of €8 million will have been provided to UNRWA in 2020.  €7 million was disbursed in two tranches in 2020, with the first tranche of €6 million comprising €5 million in support of UNRWA’s 2020 Programme Budget, of which €1 million was earmarked for use in Lebanon; and a further €1 million allocated towards UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.  A second tranche of a further €1 million for UNRWA’s Programme Budget was disbursed following the Minister’s pledge at UNRWA’s extraordinary virtual pledging conference held in June. 

Ireland’s support to UNRWA takes the form of an initial annual contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget and support to the Agency’s Emergency Appeals, followed by additional funding to the Programme Budget if possible as the year progresses and resources allow. This year, in recognition of the difficult budgetary situation by UNRWA, Ireland is providing this further contribution of €1 million.

UNRWA’s Programme Budget is used to provide essential services for 5.7 million Palestine refugees in the fields of health, education, microfinance, infrastructure and camp improvement, protection, relief and social services across its five areas of operation.

UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal addresses the basic humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria. Palestine refugees have been disproportionately affected by this conflict, with an estimated 438,000 UNRWA-registered refugees remaining inside the country, 40% of whom are now internally displaced. Of the refugees, 91% of those registered are living in poverty and in need of sustained humanitarian assistance.

This funding addresses both humanitarian and development needs, providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable whilst also supporting the Palestinian Authority in public service delivery and civil society organisations in their advocacy of human rights.

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