Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., has announced additional humanitarian funding of €250,000 for the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This additional funding will support the Agency in delivering urgently needed food, shelter, education and social services for 1.3 million Palestine refugees in Gaza.
Ireland has been a longstanding supporter of the vital work undertaken by UNRWA with and on behalf of some 5.3 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East region, including in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza and the West Bank. Today’s pledge brings Ireland’s total overall contribution to UNRWA so far in 2018 to €6 million, up from €5.5 million last year.
Speaking on the announcement of this new funding, the Tánaiste said:
“During my visit to Gaza earlier this year, I saw first-hand the challenges on the ground for UNRWA and the essential work carried out by the Agency in delivering core services, especially in education and health, to the 1.3 million Palestinian refugees in the Strip. Recent months have demonstrated the vulnerability of Palestinian refugees across the region, especially in Gaza, where UNRWA schools are a bright spot for young people, enabling them to learn and develop despite their difficult circumstances. ”
“It is clear that humanitarian needs in Gaza are critical and that all key services are under severe strain. The UN Secretary General’s recent appeal has spoken to my own profound concerns about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, and I am glad to be able to announce that Ireland is providing an additional €250,000 in humanitarian funding to meet the shortfall in UNRWA’s funding for 2018.”
“UNRWA’s work is essential to maintaining the hope, rights and dignity of Palestinian refugees. The long term prosperity and wellbeing of the Palestinian people will, however, depend on successful political negotiations, and I am personally committed to ensuring that Ireland actively supports the search for a lasting and peaceful political solution.”
Notes to editors:
- Today’s funding announcement consists of €250,000 for UNRWA’s 2018 Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), earmarked for its programme in Gaza.
- This will bring our total funding to UNRWA in 2018 to €6 million; €4.25 million to the Programme Budget, an increase of €250,000 which was announced at the Rome pledging conference in March 2018, €1.5 million to UNRWA’s Syria Response and €0.25 million announced today for UNRWA’s response in Gaza. Since the announcement by the US of a significant reduction in their funding to UNRWA, Ireland has now pledged an additional €500,000 in 2018.
- Ireland’s support to the Palestinian people over more than two decades reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.
- Ireland’s total funding to the Palestinian people in 2017 amounted to over €11 million.
- This funding addresses both humanitarian and development needs, providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable while also supporting the Palestinian Authority in public service delivery and civil society organisations in advocating for human rights.
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestinian refugees. Today UNRWA provides services and assistance to 5.3 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- Ireland’s support to UNRWA is provided primarily as an annual contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget which provides a full range of social services including health and education services, to Palestinian refugees across its five areas of operation. Over the period 2005-2018, Ireland has provided some €52 million to UNRWA’s Programme Budget, with €4.25 million provided in 2018, an increase of €250,000 on the 2017 allocation. In addition to the Programme Budget, Ireland also provided €1.5 million in 2018 to UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal which will support the Agency to continue to meet the humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees in Syria and the region.
- Ireland has also been a generous supporter of UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeals with €8.39 million in humanitarian assistance provided since 2006, which includes today’s announcement of €250,000.