First official visit of UNRWA Commissioner-General to the Hague

07 March 2015

Jerusalem 

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl made his first official visit in office to The Hague on 5 March to discuss the cooperation between UNRWA and the Netherlands, and the current situation in UNRWA's Fields of operation. Mr. Krähenbühl met with Mr. Bert Koenders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament.

During the visit, Mr. Krähenbühl thanked the Government and the people of the Netherlands "for the longstanding and consistent support to Palestine refugees and UNRWA. The Netherlands is a major donor enabling UNRWA to deliver core services such as education, health care and relief to Palestine," Mr. Krähenbühl said.

The Netherlands has been a key contributor to the UNRWA General Fund in 2014, with a contribution of US$ 17.980 million. Its support to various UNRWA emergency appeals in Gaza and the West Bank was near US$ 6 million.

The Netherlands actively supports UNRWA's work on innovation in delivery of services, on the Agency's 2016-2021 Medium Term Strategy and on gender issues.

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

Milina Shahin

Public Information Officer – Gaza Field Office

Mobile:

+972 599 609 485

Office:

+972 8 2887213