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Information update for the Media – Extraordinary Ministerial Conference on UNRWA (FAO, 15 March 2018)

Thursday, 15 March 2018, FAO Headquarters, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome The UNRWA – the United Nations’ oldest and largest humanitarian and human development programme in the Middle East which assists more than five million Palestinian refugees – is experiencing the worst financial crisis in its 70-year-long history and could be obliged to suspend its services.

The foreign ministers of Jordan, Sweden and Egypt will co-chair the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference in support of UNRWA, convened with the aim of prompting a collective response from the international community in order to protect the rights and dignity of Palestinian refugees and to assure that UNRWA’s unprecedented budget deficit of 446 million dollars be urgently compensated.

The Extraordinary Ministerial Conference in support of UNRWA will be attended, among others, by the United Nations Secretary, General Antonio Guterres, and by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

The Conference calls upon all the United Nations Member States to act so as to give clear evidence of the tangible support of the international community for the UNRWA’s humanitarian efforts to the benefit of Palestinian refugees that also significantly contribute to the region’s stability.  

The Ministerial Conference is not open to the press.

Opportunities for the media

From 9:15-9:25 a.m., Sheikh Zayed Media Centre

Photo opportunity with brief statements by the Jordanian, Swedish and Egyptian co-chairs of the Conference and by the Commissioner General of UNRWA.

From 9:30-9:47 a.m., Green Room

Media representatives are invited to cover the opening remarks by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. They will have a photo opportunity of the podium of the conference with the Director General of FAO, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Sweden, and Egypt, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commissioner General of UNRWA.

From 12:30-1:00 p.m., Sheikh Zayed Media Center

Press Conference with the Secretary General of the United [VB1] Nations, Antonio Guterres, and the co-chairs: the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Margot Wallström, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, and the Commissioner General of UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl.

The press conference will be broadcast via webcast:  (in Arabic, English and Italian).

NB: The timeline will be short so attendees are kindly requested to be at the entrance gates of the FAO well ahead of time.


Send an e-mail to attaching thereto the scan of a valid press card or a letterheaded letter of engagement by the representative’s media organization and the copy of a valid identification document (passport or ID card).

The above documents will have to be shown in order to enter the premises of the FAO.

Application for accreditation closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 13 March.

See also

For more information contact the spokesperson of UNRWA, Chris Gunness,

UNRWA, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, was established in 1949. Acting upon the mandate conferred to it by the United Nations General Assembly, if provides assistance and protection to 5 million Palestinian refugees. The purpose of the Agency is to help Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while awaiting an equitable solution to their condition. The services provided by the UNRWA include education, health care, relief and social services, infrastructure, improving the camps and micro-credit.

The Agency is forced to meet a growing number of requests for services due to the increasing number of Palestinian refugees, their degree of vulnerability, and their rising poverty. The UNRWA is almost exclusively financed through voluntary contributions and its financial support has not kept in pace with its increasing financial needs. The result is that the Programme Budget that finances the Agency’s core services is functioning with great difficulty.

The UNRWA urges all Member Countries to work together in order to make all the necessary efforts to fully finance the UNRWA Programme Budget. The UNRWA’s emergency programmes and key projects – which are also functioning with great financial difficulties – are financed through separate financing portals.  

For more information: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Middle East


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