With its unprecedented pledge of USD 50 million to UNRWA at a recent ministerial conference in Rome, Qatar will become one of UNRWA’s top donors and will have a major impact on the Agency’s ability to continue its vital services to the vulnerable Palestine refugee community during this period of dramatic financial crisis.
At an Extraordinary Ministerial Conference on 15 March entitled “Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility – Mobilizing Collective Action for UNRWA,” Qatar made the largest pledge, which will safeguard Palestine refugee children’s access to education in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon for the remainder of the current academic year as well as other core and essential services the Agency provides to Palestine refugees in the Middle East.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was present at the conference, praised Qatar for its announced funding to UNRWA saying in a statement, “I sincerely thank the Emir for Qatar’s generous contribution in support of Palestine refugees.”
Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani said it was important for Qatar to fund the essential services of UNRWA: “In affirmation of the State of Qatar’s steady support policy towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the State of Qatar announced the donation of US$ 50 million to enable UNRWA to provide the necessary services to Palestine refugees.”
In response to this outstanding pledge, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl expressed gratitude. “I applaud Qatar for translating its political commitment into action and for its support to the Palestine refugee community in the region” and he added : “I am deeply and sincerely thankful to the government for this remarkable announcement and to His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani for his strong trust in UNRWA. ”
The partnership between UNRWA and the State of Qatar has been developing for years and with this unprecedented donation will now enter a new phase, with a significant focus on education, including emergency education, particularly in Syria and Gaza.