SC: The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Joint Nordic (N5) statement delivered by Denmark's Permanent Representative Ambassador Christina Markus Lassen on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

Thank you President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden – and my own country, Denmark.

We thank Commissioner General Lazzarini for his briefing.

We are deeply concerned with the immense suffering of civilians and loss of life in Gaza, as well as the harrowing risk of famine caused by insufficient entry of aid into Gaza since Hamas’ deplorable attack on 7 October. We also deplore the number of humanitarian workers killed.


The Nordic countries are collectively amongst the largest donors of UNRWA with contributions in 2023 amounting to around 128 million US dollars[1]. All Nordic countries have moved ahead with contributions for 2024.

Yet, financing of humanitarian aid cannot stand alone and means little if the conditions are not in place for it to reach the affected populations. Administrative procedures, including screening processes, must be swift so that the volume needed can enter as quickly as possible and for UNRWA to be able to undertake critical services and life-saving support. Full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access into and throughout the Gaza Strip via all routes is essential to provide the civilian population with life-saving assistance and basic services at scale. Moreover, humanitarian workers must be protected in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

It is important that UNRWA continues its work to restore trust in the organisation. Following recent serious allegations directed towards some workers of the Agency, we welcome the prompt follow-up action initiated by the United Nations Secretary-General and the UNRWA Commissioner General.

As we await the release of the findings of the Independent Review and the review of the United Nations Office of Internal Oversights Services, we expect them to lead to an UNRWA, that is robust and well equipped to respond to the needs of the civilian population in close coordination with relevant UN agencies and other partners.


The services that UNRWA and other UN agencies provide in Gaza and across the region are essential. At a time of escalation in regional tensions, we are counting on this Council to remain engaged across all possible avenues to ensure that essential services and required volumes of aid reach all civilians in need of assistance, including in all areas of Gaza.

We call for the immediate implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions and for all parties to support neutral, impartial and independent UN-led humanitarian action in Gaza and beyond.

I thank you.

[1] Based on 2023 overview received from UNRWA