Tuesday, 07 July, 2020


UN receives $100M in new funding for Palestinian aid after US cuts

Tzipi Hotovely with Samueli Vitanan Tzipi Hotovely with Samueli Vitanan Tzipi Hotovely's spokesperson
Bennie Garza | 16 March, 2018, 00:30

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Rome, Christopher Gunness, senior spokesperson for UNRWA, said they had started with a 2018 budget deficit of $446m - and although pledges for funding were made, there is "work to do on the funding".

The United Nations received pledges Thursday of almost $100 million in new funding for the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians after the US slashed its aid, but it is still facing a almost $350 million shortfall this year.

More than 90 countries were invited to participate in the Rome conference, which was attended by Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

Among the pledging countries are Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France.

But he said there had been no movement from the USA, which has cut the $360 million offered in 2017 to a commitment of just $60 million this year.

"If UNRWA would not exist, if these services were not provided, the security of region would be severely undermined", Guterres told reporters. But the agency said the actual cut was around $300 million because the US had led the agency to believe it would provide $365 million in 2018.

The US had been UNWRA's largest donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget.

The conference is meant to support a collective response by the worldwide community to protect the rights and dignity of some 5.3 million Palestine Refugees registered with UNRWA and ensure that the Agency's funding deficit of $446 million is urgently resolved.

The Canadian government is pledging to contribute up to $10 million in emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.

"Financing #UNRWA to enable it to follow through with its mandate is an global political, legal, moral and humanitarian responsibility", Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi wrote on Twitter.

Founded in 1949 to assist Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, UNRWA has been providing help to over 5 million people, including refugees affected by the seven-year-long war in Syria.

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