Japan Contributes US$ 10.2 Million to UNRWA in Support of Palestine Refugees

27 September 2017
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl (left) and Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, Takeshi Okubo, after signing an agreement confirming a contribution of JPY 1.1 billion (approximately US$10.2 million) form the Government of Japan in support of UNRWA service to Palestine refugees. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Marwan Baghdadi

The Government of Japan has contributed JPY 1.1 billion (approximately US$10.2 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The contribution was confirmed earlier today in an agreement jointly signed by the Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, Ambassador Takeshi Okubo, and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.

Of the total contribution, JPY 410 million (approximately US$ 3.7 million) will go towards the Agency’s food assistance for Palestine refugees in Gaza facing critical poverty.

JPY 704 million (approximately US$ 6.5 million) will support the construction of a sewerage network in the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in the West Bank. The sewerage network will be constructed in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and will be connected to the Jericho wastewater treatment plant also constructed by JICA.  This assistance is made in addition to Japan’s support to Aqbat Jabr refugee camp last year and allows the Agency to cover the camp’s entire sewerage network.

Welcoming this contribution, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA said: “Japan is an outstanding and generous partner of UNRWA. I highly value its support in addressing critical needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza. Japan’s continued commitment to the West Bank is also essential in improving living conditions of Palestine refugees.”

“On behalf of the Japanese government and people of Japan, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to UNRWA for its tireless efforts in providing much-needed assistance to Palestine refugees under the leadership of Commissioner-General Krähenbühl,” said Ambassador Okubo. “The refugees in the West Bank and Gaza still need robust support from the international community as the socioeconomic conditions are constantly deteriorating. We are especially concerned about the refugees in Gaza where humanitarian crisis spread across the Strip. The Government of Japan is determined to continue unwavering assistance to Palestine refugees through UNRWA as one of the major donors supporting the organization since 1953.”

Earlier this year, Japan contributed approximately US$ 28.4 million to UNRWA, including US$ 17.7 million to the Agency’s development programming, encompassing education for over half a million Palestine refugee children and youth, health care for more than 3.5 million patients, and social services for some 250,000 vulnerable refugees. 

US$ 5.2 million supports the Agency’s emergency operations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), while US$ 3.5 million goes towards UNRWA emergency interventions in response to the ongoing crisis in Syria. US$ 2 million helps fund UNRWA projects in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. Japan was among the top 5 donors to the Agency’s programme budget in 2016 and has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, which advises and assists the UNRWA Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate, since 1973.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
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+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
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+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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