UNRWA and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development sign Memorandum of Understanding – Occupied Palestinian Territory
Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding which establishes a framework for cooperation with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (Kuwaiti Fund).
The agreement was signed between the Deputy Director General of the Kuwait Fund, Mr. Marwan Al-Ghanem, and Ms. Tamara Alrifai, Acting Director of the Department of External Relations of UNRWA and Director of Strategic Communications, at a ceremony virtual signature attended by representatives of the Kuwait Fund and UNRWA.
The new agreement will establish a framework for cooperation between the main United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees and the Kuwait Fund. Following the signing of the Accord, Ms. Alrifai expressed her joy, saying, “This Accord paves the way for a partnership that will help empower Palestinian refugees and make them less dependent on humanitarian aid. We look forward to working with the Kuwait Fund and learning from its experience to improve the lives of refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Mr. Al-Ghanem said: “Partnering with UNRWA is a crucial part of our goal of improving the impact of our work on the lives of those most in need of help, and we are indeed delighted to work with UNRWA to make a difference in the lives of Palestinian refugees. He continued, “This agreement will establish a framework for the Kuwaiti Fund to support UNRWA’s work to improve accessibility in the education, health and social services sectors for the 5.7 million Palestinian refugees registered in the region. The State of Kuwait has long been a reliable and steadfast supporter of the Palestinian cause and in particular of UNRWA and its mission since 1950, providing over US $ 240 million in much needed financial support.
The Kuwait Fund is a leading institution in the Middle East that has played an active role in international development efforts since 1961.
UNRWA is faced with an increased demand for services resulting from an increase in the number of registered Palestinian refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and the worsening of their poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been overtaken by growing needs. As a result, UNRWA’s program budget, which supports the provision of basic essential services, is operating with a large deficit. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to make every effort to fully fund the Agency’s program budget. UNRWA’s emergency programs and key projects, which also operate with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees registered in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, while waiting for a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestinian refugees who lost both their homes and their livelihoods as a result of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and need significant support for more than seventy years. UNRWA helps them realize their full potential for human development through the quality services it provides in the areas of education, health care, relief and social services, protection, infrastructure and improvement of camps, microfinance and emergency aid. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.