UNRWA, funding crisis and the way forward
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Report R 2022:04) 48 p.
Summary This commissioned report has two main aims: First, providing a description of what UNRWA is, including its history, mandate and services, with particular emphasis on the recent funding deficit and how that has impacted its operations. Second, to explore the future for UNRWA and its services by investigating hypothetical scenarios. The report traces the roots of UNRWA back to the 1948 Arab–Israeli war when some 750,000 people were uprooted and had to flee, creating the Palestinian refugee problem. In response, UNRWA was established to aid the refugees and continues to exist because no durable solutions to the refugee problem (repatriation, resettlement, integration or compensation) have been found. The report underscores the responsibility of the international community for creating the refugee problem and finding its solution. The report explains how UNRWA’s mandate has evolved over time and remains anchored in the UN General Assembly. The Agency provides services primarily to registered Palestine refugees in five fields of operation: the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Its activities cover education; health; relief and social services (RSS); humanitarian assistance through emergency appeals; microfinance; infrastructure and camp improvement; and protection. Education, health, and RSS constitute UNRWA’s main activities, and staff salaries make up the largest share of UNRWA’s budget. More than 540,00 pupils are enrolled in the 718 UNRWA schools and about 10,000 students attend vocational training centres and teacher training institutes. In total, UNRWA employs about 20,000 teachers, out of close to 30,000 staff in total. The Agency provides basic health services in 143 primary health facilities, with approximately 3,000 staff and conducts a total of 8.5 million consultations annually. UNRWA also provides cash and food assistance to those most in need. This report describes some of the services provided by UNRW