The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, concluded a two-day visit to Ankara, Türkiye. During the visit, he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and senior representatives from Turkish aid institutions and Turkish parliamentarians to raise awareness of the current challenges facing Palestine refugees and discuss expanding UNRWA- Türkiye relations.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Çavuşoğlu said, “The essential services provided by the Agency contribute to the stability and security of the region. Our political and financial support to UNRWA will continue.”
The Commissioner-General meeting discussions focused on the deteriorating situation and increasing needs of Palestine refugees, including the impact of the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, particularly on the cost of UNRWA delivery of emergency food assistance in Gaza, and ways in which the robust cooperation and partnership with Türkiye can be further strengthened.
“Türkiye’s generosity and unwavering political and financial support have once again helped to ensure the continued delivery of UNRWA services to Palestine refugees at a time of increasing needs and rising costs. I remain deeply appreciative of the Government of Türkiye for their continued efforts and look forward to further developing our important partnership to the benefit of Palestine refugees served by the Agency,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Lazzarini.
The Government of Türkiye has been a steadfast partner to UNRWA and since 1949 has played a critical role in supporting the Agency. Türkiye’s support in multilateral platforms, including the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Organization of Turkic States, as well as its direct financial contributions to UNRWA, are highly appreciated. Over the last four years, Türkiye has made annual contributions in the amount of US$ 10 million in support of the Agency’s core budget, and in 2021 made an in-kind donation worth US$ 10.3 million for Palestine refugees in Gaza.
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.