Saudi Arabia Makes Landmark Contribution of US$50 Million to UNRWA – Press Release

27 April 2018

UNRWA expresses its deep recognition and gratitude for the extraordinary contribution of US$ 50 million announced by His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, at the recent Arab League Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

This decision will play a vital role in supporting UNRWA’s core services, notably education to over half a million Palestine refugee children in the Middle East. The Agency’s Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl commended this historic contribution and stated: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for the strong political and financial support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has extended to UNRWA and the 5.4 million Palestine refugees we serve.”

“The announcement made by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud sends a strong message that Palestine refugees and UNRWA’s mandate enjoy Saudi Arabia’s lasting and determined committed support; I am extremely appreciative of this act of generosity and grateful for the trust placed in our Agency,” added the Commissioner-General.

At a time when UNRWA is facing an unprecedented financial crisis, Saudi Arabia’s contribution represents a formidable message of solidarity towards Palestine refugees. It comes in addition to the Kingdom’s long-standing support for UNRWA, in particular through regular and important donations by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).

Following the anouncement the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said: “UNRWA is playing a vital role in providing basic needs and social services for Palestine refugees. The Government of Saudi Arabia will continue its support to the Palestinian people in all fields”.

These generous contributions by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia make possible the continued protection of Palestine refugees through the provision of education and health care services by UNRWA as well as dedicated protection interventions.


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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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)258 90724


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