Denmark signs funding deal with UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees worth $75.2m over 5 years

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Authorities in Denmark have signed an agreement to provide the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East with funding of more than $15 million a year between 2023 and 2027.

Danish sources said the agreement, signed on Wednesday and worth a total of $75.2 million, builds on the existing partnership between the agency and Denmark, following a similar agreement covering 2017-2021, and reaffirms Denmark’s commitment to providing financial assistance for the agency and the country’s ongoing support for Palestinian refugees.

“We are happy to enter into this multiyear agreement and provide predictable and flexible funding to UNRWA,” said Ambassador Ketil Karlsen from the Representative Office of Denmark in Ramallah.

“In 2020, we increased our funding to UNRWA by 50 per cent and we will continue to provide assistance at this level as we go forward. Denmark sees UNRWA as an important stabilizing force in a region that is going through precarious times.

“In terms of substance, Denmark and UNRWA will, in particular, focus on youth and how we can help adolescents, as well as young girls and boys, to get skills enabling them to enter the labor market.”

The funds will be used to finance essential services for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and Gaza. Primary healthcare, quality and inclusive education, social protection services, infrastructure, and camp improvements and security are all provided in these areas by the agency.

“On behalf of UNRWA, I express my gratitude to the Government of Denmark for providing UNRWA with generous multiyear funding and, in particular, for disbursing their entire 2023 contribution upon the signing of this agreement, helping the agency meet its funding needs this month,” said the agency’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini.

“This is exceptionally important for the agency’s ability to continue to serve Palestine refugees, especially in the context of our chronic cycles of underfunding.

“The agreement sets also a new level of good donorship by giving the agency predictable funding for the next five years to run its services — including education and health — across the region.”

The agency and Denmark are also working together on a Danish-funded research study that will analyze in-demand employment sectors throughout the five areas of agency operations and the barriers to young Palestinian refugees entering the labor market.

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