Funding for United Nations Relief and Works Agency

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Emergency motion #1

THAT Conference notes that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) currently employs 21,946 education staff to provide education for in excess of 515,000 refugee children across Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza Strip, West Bank and Syria. Alongside education, the UNRWA provides refugees and displaced families with access to primary health care; including pre-natal and other life saving services.

Conference has urgent concerns that these services are now under urgent threat following the US government announcement of a reduction of $300 million in their 2017 aid contribution from $360 million to only $60 million for this vital UN agency. With such a huge loss of funding it is highly likely that loss of funding would lead to closure of Schools and widespread redundancies further destabilising the region, leaving behind half a million children and young people. The Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) noted that the reduced contribution “also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiple risks and threats, notably that of further radicalisation.”

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to put forward to the Joint Executive Council that the Joint Executive Council:

  1. lobby the Government to work with its UN partners to address the shortfall in funding to UNRWA and to expedite current funding to ensure that no schools are closed
  2. investigate what further action could be taken by the NEU to support our international trade union colleagues and the pupils and students whom they serve