Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

UNRWA Advisory Commission Discusses its Financial Crisis

UNRWA Advisory Commission Discusses its Financial Crisis

Tuesday, 19 June, 2018 - 09:00
Palestinian UNRWA employees protest against a US decision to cut aid, in Gaza City January 29, 2018. (Reuters)
Dead Sea – Mohammed al-Daameh
UNRWA’s advisory commission held a meeting in the Dead Sea region in Jordan on Monday to discuss its ongoing financial crisis after it recorded a deficit of USD446 million.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl described to Asharq Al-Awsat the meeting as significant given its financial crisis that was sparked by the United States’ decision to cut aid to the agency, which left it with the current deficit.

He added that the extraordinary meeting was aimed at discussing how to deal with the crisis and update the advisory commission of what has been achieved since the beginning of the year.

The decisive meeting will determine whether UNRWA will be able to provide its services, including to half a million students for the new academic year, which starts in September. It will also determine whether it will be able to continue to provide life-saving services in the Palestinian Gaza Strip and Syria.

Furthermore, Krähenbühl expressed gratitude to countries that continued their donations after the US cut.

On whether efforts are ongoing to persuade the US to change its stance, he confirmed the contacts, especially given that Washington used to be the greatest UNRWA donor.

The efforts are yet to yield results.

After the US cut down its assistance, UNRWA launched campaign “Dignity is Priceless” that garnered huge support from countries and institutions. Krähenbühl singled out the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia for their contributions.

Hamas, meanwhile, urged UNRWA to reach a solution to its crisis, stressing that it is unacceptable for the agency to “beg” for its budget every year.

The Palestinian movement stressed that the international community bears responsibility for protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees until they return home.

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