Norway steps up assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA)
‘I am deeply concerned about UNRWA’s financial situation. UNRWA plays a key role in ensuring that the rights and basic needs of Palestine refugees are met and promoting stability in the Middle East. This is why Norway is now increasing its funding for UNRWA and will provide a total of NOK 1.1 billion over a period of four years,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
The announcement was made today at a meeting in Oslo between the Foreign Minister and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini. Norway will enter into agreements on the provision of NOK 700 million over four years to UNRWA’s core budget and NOK 400 million over four years to support UNRWA’s humanitarian programming. Norwegian humanitarian assistance will include efforts to protect children and initiatives to combat sexual and gender-based violence.
For more than 70 years UNRWA has provided crucial services to millions of Palestine refugees in the Middle East, including education, basic health services, social protection and humanitarian assistance. However, acute and continuous funding shortfalls are undermining UNRWA’s ability to carry out this vital work. It is critical to increase funding and broaden UNRWA’s donor base, an issue that Norwegian officials frequently raise when meeting their counterparts from relevant countries.
‘UNRWA’s ability to provide services is important for stability in the Middle East. Norway recognises this and will continue to give priority to providing support to the agency, in solidarity with the refugees. These multi-year agreements will provide greater predictability and make it easier for UNRWA to plan its operations and spending. I call on other donors to increase their funding as well,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.