FINLAND COMMITS EUR 4.5 MILLION PER YEAR TO UNRWA FOR 2015-2018

16 March 2015

Finland has signed a new multi-year funding agreement that will see the long-term partner of UNRWA contribute EUR 4.5 million (US$ 4.8 million) per year to the UNRWA General Fund between 2015 and 2018.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said: “Multi-year agreements, like the one signed with Finland, provide valued stability in an environment of financial and political uncertainty. I thank the government and people of Finland for their long standing and generous support for Palestine refugees, one that ensures that UNRWA can provide reliable and crucial health, education, relief and social services.”

Finland has been a long-standing supporter of UNRWA, focusing its support on the Agency’s General Fund, while also contributing to Emergency Appeals. In 2014, Finland was among the Top 20 UNRWA donors, contributing US$ 8.9 million, including US$ 6 million towards the General Fund. This new multi-year agreement follows a previous agreement covering 2011-2014, which committed a baseline of EUR 3 million per year to the UNRWA General Fund. While the EUR 3 million baseline in the previous agreement was topped up each year to reach EUR 4.5 million, UNRWA appreciates Finland’s commitment to a EUR 1.5 million increase in the annual baseline contribution.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness

UNRWA Spokesperson

Mobile:

+972 (0)54 240 2659

Office:

+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson

Mobile:

+972 (0)54 216 8295

Office:

+972 (0)2 589 0724