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Min Coveney announces funding of 6 million to UN Agency for Palestine Refugees

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced that Ireland has agreed a three-year package of support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Ireland will contribute €6 million per year to UNRWA between 2021 and 2023.    


Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s work in providing services to Palestine refugees. I’m delighted to have agreed a three year package of support which will help to give the agency a degree of financial certainty during an extremely difficult period,” Minister Coveney said.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on an already vulnerable refugee population. UNRWA’s services provide a vital lifeline to communities enduring overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress, socio-economic hardship and food insecurity.”


The Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy T.D., added:

“This funding will support UNRWA to meet the basic and emergency needs of Palestine refugees, whilst mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. I commend the vital work being undertaken by the Agency across its five fields of operation, particularly at this unprecedented time.”


Ireland’s support to the Palestinian people reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.


Ireland’s support will be used by UNRWA to address the humanitarian and development needs of refugees across UNRWA’s fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  • There are 5.7 million Palestine refugees registered in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
  • €5 million of Ireland’s 2021 €6 million allocation is core funding in support of UNRWA’s 2021 Programme Budget, of which €1 million is for use in Lebanon. A further €1 million will be allocated to UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.
  • UNRWA’s Programme Budget is used to provide essential services for Palestine refugees in the fields of health, education, microfinance, infrastructure and camp improvement, protection, relief and social services across its five areas of operation.
  • UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal addresses the basic humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria. Palestine refugees have been disproportionately affected by this conflict, with an estimated 438,000 UNRWA-registered refugees inside the country, 40% of whom are now internally displaced. Of the refugees, 91% of those registered are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance.

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