High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule signed Wednesday a joint declaration on EU support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the period 2014-2016, with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.
Under the agreement, the EU contribution to the UNRWA General Fund for core services in 2014-2016 will amount to some EUR 246 million (US$ 335 million).
Pierre Krahenbuhl expressed gratitude to the EU for its renewed multi-year commitment. “The EU remains a steadfast partner for Palestine refugees amid the uncertainty of the Middle East right now”, Krahenbuhl said, adding, “and this three-year agreement offers much needed predictability. Allow me to add that this contribution is important because there is an increasing recognition among European audiences that international assistance to Palestine refugees is being accompanied by the promotion of rights, not just to high standards of human development, but also to a just and lasting resolution of their plight.”
The EU contribution to the UNRWA General Fund will allow the Agency to provide essential education, health, relief and social services to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the Middle East.
EU support brings daily improvements in the lives of millions Palestine refugees, especially through the education of half a million children in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank including East-Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.