UNRWA PARTICIPATES IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S SOCIALISTS AND DEMOCRATS GROUP'S CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION NOW!
20 May 2016
UNRWA Deputy Director of Education Nilse Ryman participated in a panel discussion at an education conference held recently in Rome, Italy. The EDUCATION NOW! Conference, sponsored by the European Parliament's Socialists and Democrats Group, focused on the importance of access to education in humanitarian crises and on the need to increase the proportion of humanitarian aid for education. During the panel, Mr. Ryman emphasized the importance of access to quality education systems and explained that the European Union (EU) has supported UNRWA in delivering quality education to Palestine refugee children in humanitarian crises. He described how the onset of the Syria crisis had presented new challenges in the delivery of education to the Palestine refugees displaced in Syria or forced to flee to Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza. The lessons learned and tools developed by UNRWA – most notably, the self-learning materials for children affected by the conflict in Syria – have also been widely shared with partner organizations.
During his intervention, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid ensured that the EU will double their support to education in humanitarian crises and requested that the international community commit to doubling the EU humanitarian funds dedicated to education for children in emergencies to 4 per cent. The conference highlighted the need to engage new donors and urge current ones to stick to their commitments. It also called for urgent and collective action in preventing conflict and ensuring the right to education.
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, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. 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 .
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