Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Odd-Inge Kvalheim in the Fourth Committee meeting on United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 7 November 2022.

Thank you Commissioner-General for your presentation, which makes clear to us both the great challenges the Palestine refugees are grappling with, and the critical situation of UNRWA. Let me express Norway’s thanks to you and to all UNRWA staff and management for your tireless efforts to enable continued operations and continued service delivery in this situation.

Absent a political solution UNRWA plays a key role in ensuring that the needs and rights of Palestine refugees are met. The agency’s continued ability to serve this function remains crucial, also from a stability perspective. Norway strongly supports the mandate renewal to take place this week.

We are deeply concerned that the recurrent budget crises of the agency are having a detrimental effect on UNRWA, in addition to causing great stress for the Palestine refugee population. Therefore, Norway has argued for enabling more of UNRWA’s operational costs to be financed through assessed contributions.

This is based on the Secretary-General’s recommendation from 2017. We are pleased that this committee has been able to move forward on the issue, and look forward to staying engaged in the follow-up processes. In addition to providing more stable funding, this will lead to better burden sharing. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure that UNRWA is sufficiently funded to deliver on the mandate that this body has given.

We still call for additional voluntary funding from more donors, which will remain necessary. Norway increased our funding for UNRWA this year and made it multi-year and more flexible. We encourage others to do the same.