Italy contributes EUR 6.8 million to core UNRWA programmes and services


The Government of Italy has contributed EUR 6.8 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s core programmes and services, including education, healthcare, and relief and social services. This support from Italy will have a direct positive impact on the well-being of some of the most vulnerable refugees in the Middle East.

“This contribution reflects Italy’s long-standing commitment to support UNRWA in delivering health, education and social services to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East,” said Giuseppe Fedele, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem. “Recently, UNRWA has been at the frontline in providing emergency support to Palestinians most affected by the recent resumption of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, showing once again how valuable UNRWA’s presence on the ground is for reaching the people most in need.”

“We are extremely grateful to the people and Government of Italy for this generous contribution which comes at a time when UNRWA operates amidst dire financial conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemics and the recent dramatic hostilities in the occupied Palestinian territories,” said Marc Lassouaoui, Acting Director of Partnerships of UNRWA. “This timely contribution will help UNRWA continue delivering core services to Palestine refugees throughout the region, including education, health care and relief and social services.”

The Government of Italy has been a longstanding supporter and a strategic partner of UNRWA. In 2020, Italy contributed over EUR 15 million, playing a critical role at a time when UNRWA faced an existential crisis. It is thanks to the enduring support of donors like the Government of Italy that the Agency is able to provide vital services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East in the face of its continuing challenges.

Background Information:

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 5.7 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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