Cairo, Sep 11 (IANS) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees still needs $200 million to be able to cover its costs for the current year, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said on Monday.
At a press conference held in Egypt’s capital after a meeting with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Krahenbuhl reiterated that UNRWA has collected more than half of the funding it needs for 2018.
The Xinhua also quoted him as saying that private contributions have increased following the US decision to cut its funding to the UN organization as of August 31.
The official said that it is hard to accept such a decision from a partner who had been known for its generosity.
However, he expressed his enthusiasm over the fact that UNRWA had managed to cover more than half its deficit and is now trying to find other partners from whom to acquire the remaining funds it needs for the current year, with an eye toward seeking greater financial stability in 2019.
Krahenbuhl reiterated that the number of supporting countries for the UNRWA increased after the US decision to stop its financial contributions to the organization.
He added that many generous countries are actively funding UNRWA, including China, India, the Gulf countries and the European Union countries.
The UN commissioner ruled out the possibility of interrupting the academic courses for Palestinian refugees in UNRWA schools, a curriculum which started in August.
He reiterated that the organization cannot imagine how to tell the students that the UNRWA schools have failed.
Krahenbuhl stressed the importance of the Arab League foreign ministers meeting set for Thursday, expressing his gratitude to Arab countries who donated to UNRWA and asking the others to follow their lead.
Krahenbuhl also gave special thanks for the contributions of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian authorities and the Arab league in trying to find a solution to what he called the worst crisis UNRWA has ever faced.
Washington decided to stop funding UNRWA as of Aug. 31, accusing the UN organization of corruption and lack of financial discipline, while in January the US had cut its financial contribution to the agency from $360 million to only $60 million.