Amman and Gaza City
Filippo Grandi (ITA)
Voluntary contributions from governments and the European Commission.
USD 621 Mio.
Swiss contribution 2011
CHF 14,7 Mio.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) is active in providing education, healthcare, social services and emergency aid to over 4 million Palestine refugees living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. UNRWA employs a staff of some 29,000 individuals, practically all of whom are refugees themselves. In 2011, Switzerland supported UNRWA with some CHF 14.7 million.
|The main tasks of the UNRWA|
The organization deals exclusively with ensuring that the needs of Palestine refugees are met within the five areas in which it operates, i.e., the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It provides for their basic needs, first and foremost in the domains of basic education and free primary health care, with a special emphasis on mother and child health. Social services are provided to the 6% of refugees who are unable to meet their own basic needs. A microfinance programme assists owners of small businesses and provides credit for poor families.
Providing education for refugee children is UNRWA’s largest area of activity. Half of the Agency’s regular budget and two-thirds of its staff are occupied with this task. However, emergency operations are an on-going commitment, particularly since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000. It is estimated that more than 50% of the Palestine refugees are unemployed, and that 60-70% of them are living under the poverty line. UNRWA provides temporary jobs for unemployed breadwinners. The Agency has also greatly increased its provision of food aid, which is now reaching some 230,000 families. The total budget for 2012 is USD 621 million.
|UNRWA and Switzerland|
With regards to the migration issue, UNRWA, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is the most important partner of the Swiss government. Switzerland contributed a total of CHF 14.7 million to the overall budget in 2011.
In 2006, UNRWA published the Agency’s Organisational Development (OD) plan entitled “Serving Palestine Refugees more effectively: strengthening the management capacity of UNRWA”. Switzerland supports the OD process both financially and by making suitable experts available to UNRWA for the execution of specific tasks.
Switzerland is represented in the UNRWA Advisory Committee and stands out from among the donor countries due to its thematic competence and future-oriented approaches. Switzerland is a highly esteemed discussion partner of the UNRWA management.