General Assembly General Assembly

UNGA Ad Hoc Committee for the announcement of voluntary contributions to UNRWA

(June 23, 2022)

 

 

INDIA STATEMENT

 

 

Thank you, Mr. President. We welcome your initiative to convene the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the announcement of voluntary contributions to UNRWA. I thank Secretary-General António Guterres and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, for their remarks.

 

2.    Let me begin by reaffirming India’s historic and unwavering commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Palestine question. India has always supported a negotiated two-State solution leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel.

 

Mr. President, 

 

3.    The living conditions of over 5 million Palestinian refugees have continued to remain precarious in recent years. The COVID pandemic, the conflict of May 2021 in Gaza, the deteriorating financial condition of the Palestinian Authority and the economic situation in Lebanon have further complicated their situation. 

 

4.    UNRWA has become their lifeline in such a situation. The Agency’s vital services to millions of Palestinian refugees are crucial not only from the humanitarian and development perspective but also contribute to the overall stability in the region. We appreciate the efforts of UNRWA personnel on the ground, who continued the delivery of these services despite various constraints and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

5.    UNRWA’s financial difficulties are not new. The Agency has endeavored to overcome them through several initiatives, including austerity and cost control measures as well as optimizing efficiency. But the funding gap for the Agency’s core program budget has persisted. We believe that it is time to scale up our collective efforts to ensure the continuity of UNRWA’s essential services. Let me assure you that India will continue to support the Palestinian refugees by various means, including through our financial contribution to UNRWA. We appeal to other donor countries, organizations, and institutions to also continue with their contributions to UNRWA. We also appreciate the steps taken by the Agency in ensuring transparency in its operations and adherence to the UN standards in humanitarian services, especially education.

 

Mr. President, 

 

6.    In response to UNRWA’s financial crisis, India enhanced its annual pledge to the Agency from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million and has contributed US$ 20 million over the last 4 years. We have also pledged US$ 5 million for UNRWA’s program budget for the year 2022. I am pleased to inform you that the first tranche of our pledged commitment for this year has already been released. 

 

7.    India, over the years, has continued to remain a committed development partner of Palestine supporting its nation-building efforts. We are actively engaged in extending technical and developmental assistance to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. Even during the pandemic, our projects in Palestine have progressed, including the Palestine-India Techno-park, two Schools, the National Printing Press and a Women’s Empowerment project. Our scholarship and training programs are open to Palestinian refugees in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. 

 

8.    To conclude, Mr. President, I would like to reiterate India’s steadfast support for UNRWA and the able leadership of the Commissioner-General in these difficult times.  I once again thank you for convening this important meeting to support the Agency.