On 16 June Minister-president Geert Bourgeois and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl signed a new agreement, which will provide a framework for the Government of Flanders’ support to UNRWA in the period 2016-2018. The Government will provide 450.000 euros for this cooperation.
UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, provides humanitarian aid to 5 million Palestinians, living in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Through education, health care, social assistance, community building and microfinance the agency contributes to stability and development in the region.
Flanders’ support to UNRWA has to be seen in the light of the ambition of the Government of Flanders to do its part to achieve a democratic and just world order in which human rights are respected. The agreement is also conductive to a more focused and sustainable cooperation with a number of well-chosen multilateral organizations.
Furthermore, the agreement provides internships for Flemish youth at UNRWA, financed by the Flanders Trainee Programme. UNRWA and Flanders will also look into a possible expansion of the scope of their cooperation to other domains such as scientific research.
Minister-president Bourgeois: “Flanders subscribes to the vital role played by UNRWA in the human development of Palestine refugees. During recent crises the agency has proven once again that it can deliver quickly and efficiently when confronted with enormous humanitarian needs. Our partnership with UNRWA is therefore first and foremost an investment in peace.”
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl praised Flanders for being a reliable donor, which has contributed over 2.5 million euros over the past ten years to improve the living conditions of Palestine refugees: “I am deeply grateful to the Government of Flanders for their dedication to improving the living conditions of Palestine refugees and for their repeated commitment to do so in a focused, sustainable and predictable manner.”
Flanders multilateral policy
Flanders Trainee Programme