4C: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Statement by Ambassador Tore Hattrem in Fourth Committee on United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, 6 November 2017.

| Fourth Committee

Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates,

A just solution for Palestine refugees has still not been reached. This is highly regrettable. Protecting the fundamental rights of the refugees, in accordance with international law, is crucial for long-term peace. In this regard, Norway urges the parties to resume credible negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues.

Since its establishment in 1949, UNRWA has played a crucial role in supporting the Palestine refugees through humanitarian assistance, health and education services, as well as employment opportunities.

In a challenging and often unpredictable political environment, it is highly commendable that UNRWA has contributed to stability for Palestine refugees during all these years.

Norway fully supports UNRWA in their invaluable work. We also recognise the key role played by the host countries in supporting UNRWA’s operations. This includes the contributions toward the delivery of basic services to the Palestine refugees.
The demand on UNRWA is increasing, and the unsustainable financial situation is worrying.

Norway welcomes the report by the UN Secretary-General of 30 march 2017, on exploring “potential ways and means, including through voluntary and assessed contributions, to ensure that the Agency’s funding is sufficient, predictable and sustained for the duration of its mandate”. We hope that the follow-up of the report will yield momentum and will result in UNRWA’s ability to fulfil its mandate. We support the recommendation to increase the assessed contributions to UNRWA. Ways to provide additional support from the regular UN budget toward operating costs beyond international staff, should be further explored.

UNRWA will have to constantly adapt to changing realities in the region. We commend the organisation for the reform measures to improve the performance and sustaining the budget. We acknowledge the austerity measures made over the last years. We fully support the priority of providing support to the most vulnerable groups of Palestine refugees.

Norway recognizes the efforts made by the Agency to expand the donor base in order to make the budget sustainable. We remain committed to supporting UNRWA and their efforts in delivering core services to Palestine refugees in all five fields of operations.

Thank you