Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

UNRWA: Statement of the Netherlands at UNRWA’s pledging conference


 Statement of the Netherlands at UNRWA’s pledging conference

New York, 4 December 2012


Mr Chairman

-    Let me start by expressing deep appreciation for the invaluable work performed by UNRWA, often in very difficult circumstances as witnessed for the past years and months.


-    We applaud UNRWA’s ongoing operation in Syria and the fact that UNRWA went back to work the day after Israel and Hamas came to an agreement.


-    Despite increased operational challenges in the region, the Agency's vital contributions reach out to a growing number of Palestine refugees in the five fields of UNRWA operations. 


-    UNRWA provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable refugees. It also offers hope in dire circumstances. Hope through schooling, through job creation and hope through better health. It offers hope for a better future in which Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine will be living side by side in peace and security.


-    Fully recognizing Israel’s legitimate security needs, the Netherlands would like to repeat its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from the Gaza strip, the situation of which is unsustainable as long as it remains politically separated from the West Bank. Furthermore the current restrictions on movement and access have cost the Agency an additional 8.5 Million dollars over the last two years.


-    We applaud the steps UNRWA has taken to present an overview of the different budgets and to clarify funding portals. We encourage the merging of the West Bank emergency appeal and the General Fund.


-    UNRWA has made progress in broadening the donor base. We welcome donors such as Brasil, India, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. However, to meet the chronic recurrent deficits, more needs to be done. We encourage UNRWA’s efforts to mobilize regional private and emerging donors in line with its resource mobilization strategy.


-    NL is a longstanding and substantial donor to UNRWA. We contributed 13 million Euro to the General Fund this year and decided to contribute an additional 2 million Euro to ease the substantial shortfall. Furthermore the Netherlands contributed 4 million Euro to the Emergency Fund for the Westbank and Gaza.


-    And the NL will continue to contribute. We intend to maintain our contribution at a similar level as previous years. We have made a reservation for the General Fund of 13 Million Euro in our budget, which is subject to parliamentary approval later this month.


-    Let me conclude by reiterating the great appreciation the Netherlands has for the work of UNRWA.


Thank you Mr Chairman