UN Secretary-General Appoints Christian Saunders as the Officer-In-Charge of UNRWA

UN Secretary-General Appoints Christian Saunders as the Officer-In-Charge of UNRWA

The UN Secretary-General’s office has announced that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has completed a part of the ongoing inquiry into UNRWA management-related matters.

The findings of OIOS revealed management issues which relate specifically to the Commissioner-General. The Commissioner-General has stepped aside until the completion of the process. The UN Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Christian Saunders as the Officer-In-Charge for the interim period.

Over the last few months, UNRWA has initiated an internal review of its governance, management and accountability functions, so as to ensure it practices the highest standards of professionalism, transparency and efficiency.

The review revealed a number of areas which required strengthening, and the agency has already commenced corrective action and will be pursuing further initiatives and improvements over the coming months. UNRWA is grateful for the critical support of UN Member States and other partners around the world and is committed to ensuring donor funds are utilized in the most efficient and effective manner in support of the Agency’s critical mission. The Secretary-General calls upon donors and partners to commit to the transfer critical funding payments to enable UNRWA to bridge its significant financial deficit and ensure it is able to carry out its unique and vital role in in serving over 5.5 million Palestine refugees.

Background Information:

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:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile:
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office:
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile:
+962 (0)79 090 0140