UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl holds a news conference at a UN school in Gaza City on January 22.
(photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)
Sweden, Jordan and Egypt are slated to co-host a conference later this month to assist the UN Relief and Works Agency in overcoming a major funding gap, Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the organization, said.
The conference will take place on March 15 in Rome, according to Gunness.
UNRWA provides health, education, social welfare and other services to millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
“The purpose of the conference is to actively support a collective response by the international community to protect the rights and dignity of Palestine refugees,” Gunness said in a statement.
The announcement of the conference’s date comes after US President Donald Trump’s administration recently said it would withhold $110 million in planned contributions to the agency.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the Trump administration wants UNRWA to enact reforms and other countries to increase their funding to the organization.
However, in January in Davos, Trump said the US would only deliver US aid money to Palestinians, if the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership returns to the peace negotiations table with Israel.
The US historically has been UNRWA’s largest donor. In 2016, the US provided UNRWA with some $355m.
Since the Trump’s administration said it would withhold aid to UNRWA, a number of countries have said they would disburse planned payments to the agency ahead of schedule, and Kuwait pledged to donate $900,000 for Palestinian refugees in Syria.