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UN Palestine refugee agency

Topic covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UN Palestine refugee agency


What to study?

For prelims and mains: UNRWA- functions, funding, significance and challenges.


Context: India pledges to contribute USD 5 million in 2019 to UN Palestine refugee agency.



India has increased its annual financial contribution fourfold to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) core budget, from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2018.



It is a relief and human development agency that was established in 8 December 1949.

UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian assistance, across its five fields of operation Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1950.

The Agency currently serves 5.4 million Palestinian refugees 20% of the world’s refugees.


Concerns and challenges:

  • The UN agency is going through a difficult financial situation due to voluntary contributions from a limited donor base.
  • There is a projected shortfall of more than USD 200 million against a funding requirement of approximately USD 1.2 billion for UNRWA this year.
  • The shortfall may impact the agency’s ability to provide essential services to the Palestine refugees, notably in the fields of education, health, and assistance to the most vulnerable refugees.


Need of the hour:

Traditional donors of UNRWA should consider enhancing their contributions.

Non-donor member states should consider contributing to UNRWA in solidarity with the Palestine refugees.


Sources: the Hindu.