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

UNRWA: Statement by Ambassador Karel J.G. van Oosterom, New York, 3 December 2013

Madame President,

-    The Netherlands would like to express our sincere appreciation for UNRWA’s important work in very difficult of circumstances.

Our condolences for the loss of personnel.

-    We welcome UNRWA’s ongoing efforts in Syria, and we emphasize the particularly vulnerable position of Palestinian refugees in this region.

Personally I have lived in Syria and Lebanon and I witnessed the crucial work UNRWA is doing in Yarmouk.

-    My government acknowledges and appreciates that 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. The organization’s valuable efforts in providing education, job creation and health care to Palestinian refugees enable a better future for millions.

-    UNRWA has made progress in broadening the donor base. 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. We welcome the comments made by Deputy CG Margot Ellis to this effort.

-    Moreover, we applaud the progress on the Medium Term Strategy (MTS). The new MTS will constitute an important basis for UNRWA’s work the coming years. The MTS-process is an opportunity for UNRWA to focus the available resources on the core programs that have the greatest impact on the human development of refugees.

-    NL has been and will remain a substantial donor to UNRWA. We contributed 13 million Euro to the General Fund this year, as well as an additional 2.5 million Euro to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for Syria. This amounts to 20 million USD as indicated on the overview we all received.

-    And the NL will continue to contribute in spite of tight budgetary constraints. We have made a reservation for 2014 for the General Fund of 13 Million Euro in our budget, which is subject to parliamentary approval later this month.

If any specific appeal were to be launched, we will judge them on their merits.

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

Thank you Madame President