UN General Assembly: Ad Hoc Committee for the Voluntary Contributions to the UNRWA: Statement by Dr. Janne Taalas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, New York, 7 December 2011
Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the Ad Hoc Committee.
First of all I wish to express the deep gratitude of Finland for the dedicated work of UNRWA as a crucial provider of basic services to the Palestine refugees and to their communities in the Middle East. The on-going changes in the Arab world are a source of hope. However, we are fully aware of the fact that they have also created new, significant challenges to the work of UNRWA.
Secondly, I want to use this opportunity to commend the reform efforts of UNRWA. This process needs to be continued in order to address the challenges of the future. In this respect we take note of the recent Advisory Commission recommendations to the Commissioner-General on 29 November 2011 at the Dead Sea in Jordan.
Thirdly, in the absence of a long term solution to the Palestine refugee issue, we see the support to UNRWA also as an important element in the Middle East Peace Process. We reiterate our support for a comprehensive and sustainable solution which is to be found, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.
Finland is firmly committed to supporting the work of UNRWA. We are fully aware that the financial support to UNRWA needs to be predictable and reliable in order to guarantee the quality and quantity of the service delivery to the Palestine refugees. The continuous efforts by UNRWA to widen its donor base are most welcome. We also encourage new donors to commit themselves financially to the work of UNRWA.
This year the total amount of the financial support to UNRWA provided by Finland will be 5,956 million Euro including the aid for the Summer Games in Gaza. Between 2002 and 2011 the total amount of the financial support to UNRWA has been over 40 million Euro.
Finland has also made a substantial pledge of multi annual core funding worth 3 million Euro to UNRWA in order to facilitate sustainability and continuity of the core funding.
Finally, we want to express our full support to the staff of UNRWA and our deep appreciation for their invaluable work, often under difficult or dangerous conditions in providing services to the Palestine refugees.
Thank you very much for your attention.