During the Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini recent visit to Kuwait, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) signed two agreements with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (the Fund), whereby the Fund would provide $1.5 million to UNRWA health services to Palestine refugees in Lebanon, and $20 million to support the Agency’s General Program Budget for 2021 and 2022, according to an UNRWA press release.
It said this generous financial support will help the Agency to continue providing vital humanitarian services to Palestine refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The agreements were signed by the Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Marwan Abdullah Thunayan Al-Ghanem, and the UNRWA Commissioner-General during a ceremony that took place at the Fund’s headquarters in Kuwait.
Lazzarini concluded yesterday a high-level two-day visit to Kuwait, his first to the State of Kuwait since his appointment as Commissioner-General of the Agency. The visit highlighted the strategic partnership between UNRWA and the State of Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
He also held important meetings with prominent Kuwait officials, starting with Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah at the Bayan Palace, Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the National Assembly, and Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. His meeting included other Kuwaiti officials.
Throughout his meetings, the Commissioner-General emphasized that the support of the government and institutions of the State of Kuwait greatly contribute to the ability of UNRWA to maintain its vital services for Palestine refugees, according to the press release, and expand its emergency response to Palestine refugees in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner-General also referred to the historic role that Kuwait played in support of Palestinians, including through its hosting of Palestine refugees by the State of Kuwait. It is worth noting that through the Agency’s cutting-edge vocational training at the time, many Palestine refugees contributed to the development of Kuwait as teachers and skilled workers in the health sector.
The meetings also provided an opportunity for Lazzarini to discuss the humanitarian and operational context within which UNRWA operates across the Middle East.
Kuwait has long been an important donor to UNRWA through its government and through several Kuwait-based organizations in the fields of development and relief, such as the Kuwait Fund, the Kuwait Red Crescent, the Zakat (Alms) House, the Patient Relief Fund Society, and the International Islamic Charitable Organization. Since its establishment, the contributions provided by Kuwait to the Agency have totaled nearly $238 million, enabling UNRWA to continue to provide essential services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.