HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsUNRWA: The Agency Is Close To Collapse

UNRWA: The Agency Is Close To Collapse


London, 5 November 2021 (TDI): Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, has said that financial cuts during the recent years to the budget of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), means the agency is close to collapsing.

Lazzarini was quoted by the Guardian as saying that the agency was in crisis due to a $100m shortfall. This includes a halving of the United Kingdom’s annual contribution. The Commissioner also stated the method of long-term funding has proved unsustainable.

The role of the United Kingdom in financing UNRWA programs

The UK was the third-largest overall donor to UNRWA in 2020. However, its latest cut starts to put the UK in the second tier of contributors. The agency operates about 700 schools catering to 550,000 children. It also provides health centers and social welfare to Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The UNRWA stated that recent cuts will have a humanitarian and developmental impact. The decrease is the equivalent of more than 70,000 boys and girls in schools.

Statement by Philippe Lazzarini

Lazzarini traveled to London to urge the Foreign Office to rethink the cuts. “We have had the same resources as 2013, and yet over the years we have had many demands placed upon us, so we have had no other choice but to go for drastic austerity measures to keep services afloat,” he said.

The Commissioner additionally announced that it would be a special conference in Brussels this month to urge donors to end the annual hand-to-mouth funding of the agency. UNRWA needs an $800m budget as the agency’s core.

UNRWA had a severe blow in 2018 when Donald Trump halted US funding. Nowadays, Joe Biden announced the US re-engagement. Nonetheless, it is important for the agency to receive contributions from others such as the Gulf States and the UK. He mentioned that the current funding model is leading the agency to collapse.

Lazzarini said UNRWA is “irreplaceable” when it comes to providing education to Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, it is important to address the question of who will fill the lack of schools in places like Gaza or in refugee camps in Lebanon.

Finally, the official pointed out that, “It is not UNRWA that is perpetuating refugee statehood. Refugee statehood is perpetuated by the absence of a political solution (…)”.

Arantza Renteria Vizcarra
Arantza Renteria Vizcarrahttps://watchonlinemovies.blog/
Arantza Renteria is a Peruvian third-year student of International Relations with a specialization in cooperation and development.Her work experience mostly covers Middle Eastern affairs. Her area of ​​expertise is the Levant. Among these countries, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine.She has worked in intercultural governmental and non-governmental work environments, including the Embassy of Palestine in Lima.Currently, she leads the Middle East and Gulf Research Desk at The Diplomatic Insight.

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