Statement at a Fourth Committee Interactive Dialogue on UNRWA

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 4, 2021


Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you, Mr. Commissioner-General for your statement this afternoon.

The United States has long been a global leader in the provision of humanitarian assistance and in diplomatic engagement to support and advance the protection of vulnerable people, especially refugees and internally displaced people. So, we were very proud to once again be the largest donor to UNRWA’s critical programs, providing more than $318 million this year. And I appreciate the acknowledgement of several speakers before me welcoming the United States return as a donor.

So, let me also encourage donors who have not yet given, as others have done, or who have reduced their contributions this year, to support the Agency’s core services, as well. This is especially vital, in what we just heard from the Commissioner-General in his warning that UNRWA faces a severe shortfall that could lead to program suspensions later this year.

Let me be clear: The United States is committed to serving as a strong partner to the Agency to help it provide the most effective and efficient assistance possible, consistent with UN principles of neutrality, tolerance, respect for human rights, equity, and non-discrimination.

In that light, Madam Chair, I’d like to end with a question for the Commissioner-General, if I may. My delegation would be interested in knowing what steps UNRWA is taking to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its programs while ensuring they are consistent with humanitarian principles, including neutrality?

Thank you very much.