German delegation visits UNRWA in Gaza and signs projects totaling €36 million for Palestinian refugees [EN/AR] – occupied Palestinian territory
EASTERN JERUSALEM, November 11, 2022 – On Wednesday 9 November, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) hosted a German delegation led by Oliver Owcza, Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah in Gaza . Accompanied by Thomas White, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, the delegation visited the UNRWA Al-Quds school in Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, which is one of the many sites in Gaza where job creation and (school) infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance projects have been implemented by the Agency since 2020 in two phases with the generous financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the KfW Development Bank. Throughout the implementation of the project in both phases, more than 11,000 temporary employment opportunities have been created for Palestinian refugees through UNRWA’s job creation programme. Additionally, more than 600 temporary employment opportunities were generated by local entrepreneurs in the local market. During the two phases, 59 social infrastructure premises (eg schools, health centres) were rehabilitated or modernized.
UNRWA’s Director of Gaza Affairs, Thomas White, said: “I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to Germany for this generous support to UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees. This continued funding reaffirms Germany’s commitment to Palestinian refugees. Germany is one of our most important and valuable partners in the sustainable rehabilitation of schools, health centers and other UNRWA facilities, as well as in the creation of employment opportunities for Palestinian refugees.
During the visit, the delegation visited new science and computer labs that were added to Al-Quds School and interacted with students, teachers, as well as Palestinian refugees, who benefited from educational opportunities. temporary employment within the framework of the project.
Oliver Owcza, Head of the German Representative Office, said: “Germany is a reliable partner of UNRWA and its essential work supporting Palestinian refugees throughout the region. In the current political circumstances, promoting temporary employment opportunities and maintaining basic UNRWA services can help Palestinian refugees cope with the multiple challenges they face. Improving their precarious living conditions, especially in Gaza where poverty and unemployment rates are soaring, remains a key priority for the German government.
The visit to Gaza was followed by the signing of two new agreements with KfW totaling €36 million for Palestinian refugees and UNRWA in Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon.
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Notes to editors:
Germany is one of UNRWA’s largest donors, contributing €150 million in 2021. Sustained support from donors like Germany helps UNRWA continue to provide vital humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees. and reinforces the essential work of the Agency to improve their living conditions.
The first of these agreements was an 18 million euro contribution to UNRWA funding short-term employment and on-the-job training opportunities for Palestinian refugees in Gaza as well as the rehabilitation and maintenance of social infrastructure. This project, Employment Generation and Infrastructure in Gaza, Phase III, aims to benefit 10,150 Palestinian refugees through UNRWA’s job creation programme, including 3,000 women and thus indirectly benefit up to 46,000 family members. In addition to this, approx. 11,000 Palestinian refugees will be supported through the modernization of social infrastructure.
The second signed agreement is an €18 million contribution to support the Agency’s education, health, sanitation and related support services for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. It contributes to the resilience and protection of vulnerable Palestinian refugees affected by the Syrian conflict and the serious economic crisis in Lebanon.
UNRWA faces an increased demand for services resulting from an increase in the number of registered Palestinian refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their growing poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been exceeded by growing needs. As a result, UNRWA’s program budget, which supports the delivery of basic essential services, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to make every effort to fully fund the Agency’s program budget. UNRWA’s emergency programs and key projects, which also operate with large deficits, 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 5.7 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in its five areas of operation. Its mission is to help Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to realize their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their fate. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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