General Assembly General Assembly



Mahesh Kumar, First Secretary


Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

25 June 2018


Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing this meeting.

We thank Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General UNRWA for his report on the serious financial shortfall faced by the Agency and the different initiatives UNRWA and its partners have taken to overcome the challenges.

Last week India attended meeting of the Advisory Commission of UNRWA. We appreciate the invitation extended to our government.

Mr. President,

India’s deep commitment to the Palestinian cause is abiding. India has also supported UNRWA’s work since its establishment.

As you are aware, against the backdrop of the current severe financial crisis, the Government of India has increased its annual contribution to UNRWA by four times i.e from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million.

Mr. President,

Apart from financial support to UNRWA, India had been providing a steadfast political and financial support to Palestine at the bilateral level. Prime Minister of India paid a visit to Palestine earlier this year. This was the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine. During the visit, six MoUs were signed for projects assistance worth US$ 42 million.

During the last five years, as part of India-Palestine development partnership, more than 20 MoUs and Agreements have been signed by both countries across various sectors namely education, health, agriculture, Information Technology, youth affairs and sports and empowerment of women. These also include flagship projects like the Super-specialty hospital in Beit Sahour and the Palestine India Technopark in Ramallah. Under these agreements, around US$70 million worth of financial support and project assistance has been offered.

India has also substantially increased the scholarships offered, both to the Palestinian professionals and students. Annual slots under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme (ITEC) have been increased from 100 to 150, and the annual scholarships for higher education from 50 to 100.

Similarly, as part of the annual programme of the Youth Exchange, the numbers of youth delegates have also been enhanced from 50 to 100.

Mr. President,

UNRWA has been carrying out commendable work over the past several decades despite multiple challenges caused by proliferation of conflicts in the region and inadequate and uncertain funding. It is the responsibility of the international community to support UNRWA.

India supports allocation of adequate and predictable resources to UNRWA including through the regular budget of UN.

We appeal to the traditional donors of UNRWA to consider enhancing their contributions and other Member States to consider contributing to UNRWA.

Thank you, Mr. President.