Following the Ministerial Strategic Dialogue on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Minister of State Niels Annen issued the following statement today (22 April):
UNRWA is providing essential support in what is currently a particularly precarious situation for 5.5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. By providing health services, UNRWA is playing an absolutely crucial role in overcoming the Covid‑19 crisis. An uncontrolled outbreak in Gaza, the West Bank or refugee camps would have a devastating humanitarian impact. It is thus vital that UNRWA retains its ability to act. Germany plays a major part in this and is supporting UNRWA with 51 million euros in funding this year. The provision of further funding, including financial support to tackle Covid‑19, is currently being reviewed.
The Ministerial Strategic Dialogue on UNRWA dates back to an initiative by Jordan and Sweden and was last held in Stockholm in April 2019. The new UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, who took office on 1 April, briefed participants on the current aid measures and the need for increased funding to overcome the corona pandemic. Accordingly, the main topic of today’s video conference was to ensure long‑term funding for the aid organisation, as well as to discuss further political support following the extension of the mandate at the UN General Assembly in November 2019. In order to support the current wide-ranging health measures and other programmes, Germany has already paid all of the instalments for its 2020 contribution. Today’s Ministerial Strategic Dialogue was attended by Germany, Jordan, Sweden, France, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Japan, Kuwait and the European Union.