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Address by Minister of State for External Affairs at the Extraordinary Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA (June 23, 2020)

June 23, 2020

Excellencies,

It is evening here in New Delhi. Let me wish Namaskaram and very good evening to all of you.


We laud the timely initiative of the Foreign Ministers of Jordan and Sweden for convening today’s pledging conference.

As a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian cause, India deeply appreciates the generous support and untiring work of host countries, donors and UNRWA to ensure millions of our Palestinian brothers and sisters displaced from their homeland a life of dignity.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreck havoc across the globe, stretching governments’ resources to address healthcare and socio-economic needs of their own people, and constraining capacities to assist others. But victory over this unprecedented crisis demands collective and concerted action. Therefore, despite a surge in domestic demand for medical supplies amidst rising Covid cases, we are assisting countries in need of critical, life saving drugs. We are sending a medical shipment to Palestine next week.

Capacity enhancement through training and building durable institutions is a major plank of our developmental assistance to Palestine. We are working with them to organise more and more training programmes on virtual platforms till resumption of normal travel, and remain committed to timely disbursement of funds for the developmental projects so that they continue on schedule. We provide 250 annual scholarships to Palestinian youth and officials, apart from regular customised training programmes, and our current project grant is around US$ 72 million.

As colleagues before me have flagged, sustainability and predictability of funding is imperative for any agency or organisation to carry on its mandate without interruption. UNRWA needs our continued support. When certain countries withdrew funding, we had stepped up our annual pledge from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million in 2018. For this year, we have already disbursed US$ 2 million and will soon be remitting the balance US$ 3 million. I am pleased to announce that we will contribute another US$ 10 million to UNRWA over the coming two years.

Thank you.

New Delhi
June 23, 2020
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