Published: 2018-03-11 12:26
Last Updated: 2018-03-11 13:53
The foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt and Sweden will chair a conference on the funding crisis faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Thursday.
“The purpose of the conference is to actively support a collective response by the international community to protect the rights and dignity of Palestine refugees,” UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness, said in a statement.
The conference will be held in the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters in Rome. It will be attended by around 90 countries, including members of the League of Arab States and the European Union. The US has also indicated that they will attend the conference.
Adnan Abu Hasna, a Gaza-based UNRWA spokesman, said the historic conference will be crucial in securing funding sources for the agency and preventing the severe funding crisis from forcing the agency to halt its vital work.
Abu Hasna confirmed the financial deficit threatens the critical agency services provided to Palestinians in Palestine and neighbouring countries. The conference aims to assist UNRWA in finding solutions and continue operations.
The worst crisis in UNRWA’s history began in January 2018, when the largest donor to the agency-the US announced they will withhold more than half of the planned funding. The cut came after the widely condemned US decision to relocate their embassy to Jerusalem and has negatively impacted refugees’ living conditions.
In Jordan, the funding cut has already negatively impacted the health and education of refugees, as the UN agency announced in January that they will lay off 100 employees in an attempt to cut costs.