Today, in response to a financial deficit that threatened to keep the doors of schools for Palestinian refugee children closed this fall, the United States is proud to announce an additional $15 million contribution to the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
This contribution is part of a multi-donor effort to bridge UNRWA’s current year deficit so UNRWA schools open on time, ensuring quality education for 500,000 Palestinian refugee children in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza. This funding brings the United States’ overall 2015 contribution to nearly $350 million, $165 million of which went to the General Fund to support essential services like education. The United States has been and remains the largest and most reliable bilateral donor to UNRWA.
As a result of the United States’ and other UNRWA donors’ urgent contributions, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA has announced that the upcoming school year will begin on schedule in Lebanon. The United States remains committed to our longstanding partnership with UNRWA in support of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
We also recognize that Lebanon has been a generous host to almost 1.2 million registered refugees from Syria. Since 2012, the United States has provided more than $889 million to support Lebanese host communities and refugees fleeing violence in Syria. However, America has also invested more than $150 million in Lebanese public schools to ensure that all Lebanese students receive a high quality education. We will continue to support Lebanon to address the additional economic and social strains placed upon Lebanese host communities by the Syria crisis.