14 December 2016

Signing agreement between the German Development Bank (KfW) and UNRWA, with Jonas Blume (left), Director
of the KfW Office in Ramallah, and Marc Lassouaoui (right), Chief of the UNRWA Donor Relations Division.
 © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Marwan Baghdadi

Earlier today, the German Development Bank (KfW) signed agreements with UNRWA totaling EUR 18 million from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The contribution will support the advanced preparations for the return of 1,572 families to the newly reconstructed Nahr el-Bared Palestine refugee camp in northern Lebanon, as well as UNRWA education and health services for Palestine refugees in Lebanon affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.

As part of the contribution, EUR 15 million will go towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) in Lebanon over a period of four years. Activities will include the reconstruction of 276 residential units and 64 retail units, rubble removal, and archaeological investigations on the site. These funds come in addition to EUR 8.8 million (US$ 11.5 million) previously donated by Germany in support of displaced persons from NBC and reconstruction efforts and will help camp residents to rebuild their lives, following nearly ten years of displacement.

UNRWA, the Lebanese Government and the international community, including the Government of Germany, aim to ensure the full reconstruction of NBC. Recent contributions, including this contribution, were pledged in the presence of the Lebanese Prime Minister, Tammam Salam; the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl; and the international donor community at the Grand Serail on 5 October 2016. Collectively, these pledges have rejuvenated efforts to reconstruct the camp.

To date, nearly half of the camp’s displaced families have returned to newly reconstructed homes in NBC with support from a wide range of international donors. Given current funding to the Nahr el-Bared Appeal, it is envisaged that almost 3,400 families, or 70 per cent of the original population, will return to their homes by 2019.

The remaining EUR 3 million of the German contribution will help UNRWA to provide critical access to health and education assistance for Palestine refugees in Lebanon, including the more than 31,500 Palestine refugees from Syria currently displaced in the country.

“UNRWA appreciates the substantial support of the German Government to the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp, for UNRWA’s operations for Palestine refugees in Lebanon and for our continued partnership and cooperation,” said the Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Hakam Shahwan. “It is important that the voices of Palestine refugees are heard and that the international community continues to respond to support displaced Palestine refugees from Syria and Nahr el-Bared camp and to give them hope”.

 “I would like to re-emphasize Germany’s long standing solidarity with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Even in the context of the Syrian crisis, Palestinians can be assured that we will continue to allocate significant funds to meet their basic and infrastructural needs. The conclusion of today’s funding agreement between KfW and UNRWA is a major step towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared. It means that our commitment will translate into a positive reality for hundreds of Palestinian families who will be able to return to decent apartments,” said Martin Huth, Germany’s Ambassador in Beirut.

This assistance builds on significant support by BMZ through KfW to support humanitarian assistance, shelter rehabilitation and water and sanitation in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon.

In 2015, Germany was the Agency’s fifth largest donor, having contributed EUR 83.2 million (US$ 91.7 million) to UNRWA. Germany is the Agency’s fifth largest donor and has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 2005.

NBC Overview (as of Oct 2016)

Cost of NBC Reconstruction: $ 345 million

Amount Received to date: $ 239.4 million (69%)

 No. residents displaced from NBC: 6,164 families (28,672 residents)

 No. residents to be accommodated in NBC:4,939 families (20,878 residents)

 No. residents returned to October 2016:2,193 families (8,858 residents) 44.5%

 No. residents remaining displaced October 2016: 2,746 families (12,020 residents) 55.5%

 No. residents to return to blocks under construction:477 families (2,224 residents)

 No. residents to return with recently announced donations:692 families (2,854 residents)

 Total no. residents to return by 2019: 3,362 families (13,936 residents) 68%

 No. residents displaced if no more funding:1,577 families (6,942 residents) 32%


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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness

Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications


+972 (0)54 240 2659


+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson


+972 (0)54 216 8295


+972 (0)2 589 0724