UNRWA chief appeals for collective international effort to overcome financial gap

The Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Kraehenbruehl expressed surprise Wednesday at the recent US decision to cut funding for the UN agency drastically from USD 360 million to USD 60 million.

“I was surprised at the decision,” he told a press conference in Brussels after attending an extraordinary meeting of the international donor group for Palestine.

“USD 300 million is a very big amount so it will not be business as usual approach. We require a collective engagement, responsibility and action by the international community. It has to be a collective effort,” he said.

“We require new solutions and for that we require new alliances engaging present donors at higher level, and also engaging partners and donors who have not contributed very actively to UNRWA in the past,” he said.

“The Gulf countries of course should be included in the global effort. There are already significant contributions to UNRWA from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait in particular,” said the UNRWA chief.

Kraehenbruehl said he will be in Cairo tomorrow to attend the Foreign Minister meeting of the Arab League.

He noted that member states of the Arab League had committed to contribute 7.8 percent to UNRWA?’s core funding in the 1980s but last year they contributed only 3.5 percent.

“There is clearly a margin there for progression,” he added.

UNRWA spends USD 1.2 billion yearly to take care of the five million Palestinian refugees.

Source: Kuwait News Agency