An EU high-level delegation visits Baqa’a refugee camp in Jordan, calls for support for UNRWA

AMMAN/PNN/

A high-level delegation from the European Union, headed by Carl Hallergard, Deputy Managing Director in the Middle East and North Africa Department of the European External Action Service, accompanied by Maria Hadjitheodosiou, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Jordan, visited Baqa’a refugee camp in Jordan on 4 June, where nearly 130,000 registered Palestine refugees live.

The delegation was briefed by staff and beneficiaries of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and called for support for the UN agency. The delegation also included members from the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Members of the delegation were welcomed by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Marta Lorenzo, on behalf of the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Phillipe Lazzarini, and were briefed on the Agency’s education program, highlighting the need for Palestine refugee students to keep up with technological developments and digitalization in education. The delegation met with students from the UNRWA student parliament and had a lively interaction with them with questions focused on the most recent transformations in education and the learning process.

The delegation then visited a UNRWA health center where they were briefed about the Agency’s health program, its achievements, and challenges and met with beneficiaries.

The delegation toured the camp and was briefed on the Agency’s vital services, including solid waste management and environmental challenges. The tour also included a visit to one of the shelters where some members met with a family registered in the UNRWA Social Safety Net and exchanged discussions on the needs of vulnerable families, most importantly the rehabilitation of their zinc-roof shelters.

Lorenzo expressed her appreciation of the historical partnership between the EU and UNRWA, as well as the support extended to Palestine refugees. She called for the international donor community to fund UNRWA so that it could continue with its vital services to Palestine refugees in the region while highlighting the EU’s recently announced proposal for a three-year multiyear contribution of EUR 246 million to the Agency.

The European Union’s delegation highlighted the importance of continuing to fund the vital services UNRWA provides to around 5.8 million Palestine refugees in the Agency’s five fields of operations in Jordan, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Lebanon, and Syria.

The EU delegation arrived in Jordan in the context of the Association Council to launch new Partnerships Priorities between the EU and Jordan in which the two parties stressed the crucial role of UNRWA for security and stability in the region, in accordance with its UN mandate, and expressed their commitment to continue supporting the Agency. In this regard, the EU recalled the EU and UNRWA Joint Declaration of 17 November 2021.

M.K.

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