Allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting and I also wish to thank the Commissioner-General for his self-explanatory and informative briefing on the situation and activities of the UNRWA.
It is a great honor for me to speak on behalf of my delegation on this very important issue.
My delegation aligns its statement with the statement delivered on behalf of NAM and welcomes with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on UNRWA, which pointed out very important issues on the financial situation faced by the Agency.
In November 2010, the Commission-general of UNRWA presented a comprehensive report to the General Assembly, explaining in detail the challenges and constraints that UNRWA is facing at the present time.
Furthermore, he elaborated upon recommendations on necessary steps for the improvement of the Agency’s work at the regional and global-level.
UNRWA has been working for more than 60 years and providing humanitarian assistance and technical support to over 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.
The Agency is running education programs for young Palestinian girls and boys in more than 58 recognized refugee camps; delivering vital medical services throughout the refugee camps; and providing food and immediate assistance, in particular for disabled people, in the refugee camps.
A real improvement in the lives of Palestinian refugees across the region requires a permanent solution with justice and the establishment of two independent states living side by side within the 1967 borders.
The international community’s support to UNRWA is of the utmost importance and must continue until a permanent solution for the long lasting conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is achieved.
In conclusion, while the humanitarian and advocacy character of UNRWA has played a decisive role since its establishment in 1949, it is now more than ever crucial for it to continue its efforts dedicated to the implementation of relief programs and services to all Palestinian refugees.
The continued successful implementation of the Agency’s programs requires the strengthening of its management capacities, an increase in the number of employees, improvement in the quality of work and expansion of the Agency in the areas of education, health, water sanitation, and strengthening the rules and assistance for Palestinians in refugee camps as well as for IDP’s.
In this regard, the grave financial situation of UNRWA, due to 12 % underfunding for the last four biennium and rising costs with refugee numbers approaching 5 million, requires many measures for improving the outlook facing the Agency, including its capacity to utilize voluntary funds more effectively and in a long perspective.
As the Secretary-General already emphasized in his report of 1 February 2011,
“UNRAW needs access to a greater share of predictable, secure funding”.
While the support of traditional donors must be sustained and increased, at the same time the income from non-traditional donors including the public and private sector needs to be enhanced and strengthened.
Hence, the international community and special-financing institutions and other entities must redouble their contribution and assist the agency’s services and programs.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.