Co-chairs’ Summary Ministerial Meeting in preparation for the International Conference on UNRWA 22 September 2021, New York
Foreign Ministers H.E. Ann Linde of Sweden and H.E. Ayman Safadi of Jordan cohosted a ministerial meeting in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on 22 September 2021, in preparation for the upcoming international conference on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to be held in November 2021 in Brussels. Participants included ministers and representatives from Egypt, the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini attended the meeting.
The participants emphasised the indispensable role of the Agency to support Palestine refugees and promote stability in the region. The participants underscored the importance of UNRWA and that it must continue to operate in fulfilment of its UN mandate until a durable and just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue is found in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions, including UN General Assembly resolution 194, and within the context of a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.
The participants welcomed the international conference to be hosted by Jordan and Sweden. The participants highlighted the importance of the conference to mobilize political and financial support for UNRWA to continue offering its vital services efficiently and without interruption.
The conference will be an opportunity to view recent UNRWA efforts and for it to present to Member States its plans for a modernised Agency that is able to effectively and fully implement its mandate as decided by the UN General Assembly.
The participants underscored the significance of UNRWA’s ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations and mitigating risks and challenges.
The participants agreed on the vital importance to break the vicious cycle of financial crises of UNRWA, which jeopardises the rights of Palestinian refugees to live in dignity. The participants confirmed that UNRWA needs to be provided with sufficient, sustainable, and predictable funding, notably through long-term multi-year and core funding from a more diversified and expanded donor base.
The participants also agreed to invite all donors to actively support UNRWA, to help the Agency bridge the 2021 funding gap and ensure sustainable financial support in 2022 and beyond.