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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Iceland disburses annual core contribution to UNRWA

Iceland disburses annual core contribution to UNRWA - myndUNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has decided that the payment of Iceland's core contribution to the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) will be made by 1 April. 

This follows extensive consultations among donors and the swift action taken by the UN leadership in response to allegations of involvement of twelve UNRWA employees in the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, following which Iceland delayed the disbursement of annual core contribution to the Agency.

Extensive consultations and a credible response by UN

The UN leadership has responded swiftly and in a credible manner to these allegations. The UN Secretary General has launched an independent external review, led by Ms. Catherine Colonna, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, as well as an internal investigation led by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. UNRWA has, in parallel, launched an internal working group to enhance the Agency’s neutrality, accountability and internal oversight procedures, and agreed to allow independent auditing to strengthen internal supervision and to enable additional staff controls. 

In recent weeks, extensive consultations have taken place among donors and with UNRWA and the UN leadership, in which Iceland has emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation of the allegations, and the implementation of necessary reform based on the outcomes of the independent external review, with a view to ensuring the Agency’s neutrality and financial transparency going forward.

Upon Iceland’s payment of its core contribution, UNRWA has agreed to provide Iceland with information concerning the progress UNRWA makes on controls, independent auditing, enhanced supervision and external reviews of staff and to protect Iceland’s financial contribution in case of suspicion or confirmation of risk, along the lines of agreements between UNRWA and the European Commission, Denmark and Sweden.

Iceland’s additional contributions in response to the situation in Gaza

Iceland has in recent months made considerable additional contributions in response to the crisis in Gaza, to UNRWA, to a World Bank fund for reconstruction efforts in Palestine, the ICRC-Red Crescent, and the International Criminal Court. Iceland has also made additional contributions to the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), which in 2023 allocated 18 million US Dollars towards emergency relief in Palestine.

Iceland’s annual core contribution to UNRWA is 110 million ISK, in line with a framework agreement for the period 2024-2028, signed in September 2023.

Iceland's position on the situation in Gaza has been clear in calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, protection of civilians, urgent access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and the unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.



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