UNRWA Pledging Conference, 23 June 2022
Address by Katrín Einarsdóttir, Head of Humanitarian Affairs
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Iceland
Secretary General, Commissioner General, Excellencies,
Let me start by thanking the hosts for convening this important event in support of UNRWA and Palestine refugees. I would also like to extend Iceland’s appreciation to Commissioner-General Lazzarini for his leadership and for the measures undertaken by him and his staff to address the serious financial situation UNRWA is faced with.
UNRWA’s support to Palestine refugees is critical, including in the areas of health, education, and social services. Furthermore, the economic importance of UNRWA for its 30 thousand front-line staff is also central and extends beyond their immediate families to the wider community.
The fact that UNRWA’s chronic financial shortfall keeps growing, is therefore of serious concern. Not only does it have a negative effect on the well-being and livelihoods of the Palestinian population but can also have a destabilising effect in the areas of its operations. In the absence of a lasting political solution, UNRWA’s role remains of vital importance.
Iceland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA´s mandate as demonstrated by our focus on predictable, multi-year and unearmarked funding.
Iceland first entered into a multi-year framework agreement with UNRWA in 2018 and today I´m pleased to announce that we have extended that multi-year agreement to 2023. We have also decided to increase Iceland’s core contribution for 2022 of 10 million ISK bringing Iceland’s total contributions for 2022 to 70 million ISK.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity and commend the agency and its staff for their commitment and dedication. For them to continue their important work, it is important that more donors provide UNRWA with predictable contributions through multi-year commitments. Thank you.