Remarks in the Fourth Committee on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
November 7, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Vice Chair and to the entire Bureau for your stewardship of this Committee. The United States would also like to thank UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini for his remarks this morning.

The United States is committed to serving as a strong partner to UNRWA to help it provide the most effective and efficient assistance possible, consistent with principles of neutrality, tolerance, respect for human rights, equity, and non-discrimination. We are proud to be UNRWA’s largest single donor, providing nearly $344 million for its critical services in 2022.

Unfortunately, the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees are growing. UNRWA has reported rising food insecurity, poverty, and increased mental health needs, which have all been compounded by ongoing austerity measures. Terrible consequences loom: decreased rates of school attendance, a higher risk of disease, impossible choices for families — like whether to buy food or medicine — and increased rates of gender-based violence. As we have heard this morning from the Commissioner-General, UNRWA needs more support from donors to help refugees meet these needs.

We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s recent contribution, as well as those of other donors who pledged funding at the September 22 meeting on the margins of the UN

General Assembly’s High-Level Week. We encourage all donors, especially those who have not yet given or who have reduced their contributions this year, to support the Agency’s core services. Many countries offer rhetorical support to UNRWA, but do not match their words with financial support. We also urge donors to provide more flexible and sustained voluntary funding to UNRWA to help alleviate the Agency’s financial challenges.

Thank you, Mr. Vice Chair.