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Major Increase in Denmark’s Core Contribution to UNRWA: US$ 15.5 Million in 2020
Today, the Danish Minister of Development Cooperation, Mr. Rasmus Prehn, announced a contribution of approximately US$ 15.5 million (DKK 105 million DKK) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for 2020. The amounts represents a 50 per cent increase in Denmark’s funding to the Agency from US $ 10 million in 2019. This very generous contribution to the Agency’s core budget will help deliver essential education, health care and social services across the five fields of operation.
“I am very pleased to announce a substantial increase in Denmark’s core support to UNRWA to approximately US$ 15.5 million in 2020. UNRWA delivers quality core services to around 5.6 million Palestine refugees. It is clear that UNRWA plays a key role both in securing a better life for the many refugees and for creating stability in the region,” Minister Prehn said.
Minister Prehn visited the UNRWA Basic Girls’ School in Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah, where he saw key services provided by the Agency, such as education and health, and was briefed on some of the protection challenges that the Palestine refugee community regularly faces in the camp.
Students shared their hopes and dreams for the future and explained the importance of their work as members of the UNRWA school parliament, particularly in providing mediation during school disputes, and promoting the concepts of tolerance and human rights amongst their peers and within their community. Ms. Gwyn Lewis and Mr. Matthias Schmale, Directors of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively, accompanied the Minister.
“The Government of Denmark has been a valued long-term contributor and partner,” said Acting Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr. Christian Saunders. “This generous increase in Denmark’s contribution is an important expression of solidarity with Palestine refugees comes at a time of serious financial and political challenges for UNRWA. I thank the Government of Denmark for its support and solidarity with UNRWA”.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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