Qatar signed on Wednesday an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to donate $50mn to protect Palestinian refugees' access to basic education in 2018.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl and Director-General of the Qatar Fund for Development Khalifa bin Jassim Al Kuwari signed the memorandum of understanding in the presence of HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
The money will be utilised immediately to sustain the Agency's education services in all five fields of operations, namely, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Syria, and Lebanon between June and October of this year.
Qatar had announced the pledge at the UNRWA Extraordinary Ministerial Conference that took place in Rome on March 15. This was the largest financial commitment made during the conference, which was held to address the agency's critical funding shortfall.
Expressing his profound appreciation for Qatar's contribution, Krahenbuhl said: "The outstanding demonstration of support by the State of Qatar and the Qatar Fund for Development will not only help stabilise UNRWA funding for its operations this year, but it will also encourage other partners to strengthen their commitments and join our efforts to prevent a major humanitarian crisis.
"I wish to thank the State of Qatar, the Qatar Fund for Development and the Qatari people for this remarkable contribution of $50mn , and I look forward to an enhanced and deepened partnership between the Agency and Qatar."
Qatar Fund for Development Director-General Khalifa bin Jassim al-Kuwari said: "This agreement aims to ensure that the provision of basic services to Palestinian refugees is not interrupted. This is an affirmation of Qatar's firm position on the Palestinian issue and the State's special interest in helping to provide its brothers in Palestine with the most basic needs in order to live a dignified life."
Al-Kuwari added that the entire amount has been allocated to support the education sector, noting that Qatar, under its wise leadership, has made developmental and humanitarian efforts to serve the Palestinian people in various sectors in a sustainable manner.
Qatar supports UNRWA's pivotal role and is confident of the Agency's ability to use these resources optimally, he added.
With this contribution this week, Qatar becomes one of the Agency's top donors to its core operations for 2018. The funding will allow for the continued delivery of UNRWA's core services across the region during this period of dramatic financial crisis and political upheaval.
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