We need urgent and decisive support to maintain that agency’s ability to operate for the remainder of this year, as the President explained in a video message to a ministerial event on the subject, in Brussels.
He noted that UNRWA plays a crucial role in promoting regional stability, but it still faces an existential crisis.
In addition, he called for avoiding its use as a political tool and asked to focus on his ability to implement the mandate given by the General Assembly and his tireless commitment to the humanitarian principles and common values of the United Nations.
Guterres provided details of the insufficient funding that UNRWA had for its operations and emphasized the urgent need to avoid interruption of its basic health and education services to millions of Palestinians.
In this regard, he urged UN member states to intensify long-term commitments and solidarity and to keep pace with the generosity of countries hosting Palestinian refugees.
This Tuesday, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philip Lazzarini warned that the agency was on the verge of financial collapse, which would mean a “humanitarian catastrophe” for millions of people.
Speaking at the ministerial conference in Brussels, he said, the entity faces threats of a “really existential” nature, while almost unanimous political support for its mandate does not translate into similar financial support.
Since 2013, UNRWA’s resources have stagnated, as the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees continue to increase.
These crises are fueling a deep sense of neglect on the part of the international community. “Despair and anger boil in the fields.”
Lazzarini does not know if they will receive enough funds to keep all UNRWA services running during this month and beyond: The suspension will have a “significant impact” on the approximately two million Palestinians who will be left without food and financial aid, among other things.
Likewise, more than half a million Palestinian children will lose their right to education, the Covid-19 vaccination campaign will be paralyzed and mother and child care for this population will end.
jha / ifb
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