UNRWA warns funding will run out by September
Amid multiple global crises, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA says continued support is crucial, and warns of a severe funding shortage.
Commissioner-General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said, on Friday, that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) may run out of funds by September, resulting in a $100 million budget shortfall by the end of the year.
"So today, I can say … we can run our operation until September. Beyond September, I have absolutely no visibility. I do not know if we will get the necessary cash to allow us to pay the salaries as for the month of September," Lazzarini told a briefing.
"The expected shortfall based on what we have received, what has been confirmed in terms of pledges yesterday, and based on our best information between now and the end of the year is $100 million-plus," he continued.
Lazzarini stated that financial difficulties caused by Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have impacted donors' ability to fund the organization.
"And now there is a Ukrainian question - we will know better at the end of the year how much it will impact the agency. We have already some donors that have warned us that we might not have the traditional top-up at the end of the year," the official added.
The United Nations General Assembly held its annual pledging conference in support of UNRWA on Thursday, with member states collectively confirming $160 million in pledges. According to Lazzarini, the UNRWA budget shortfall is similar each year, but prices have risen, making it "unbearable."
It is noteworthy that over five million Palestinians are registered as refugees with UNRWA.
Since 2020, UNRWA's Commissioner-General has warned that the agency is facing a critical financial situation due to the pandemic.
The agency's financial situation plunged after the former US President Donald Trump's administration cut its funding in early 2018 and withheld $65 million.
The US and "Israel" put pressure on UNRWA, claiming the agency has become a burden on the international community.