UN / UNRWA PLEDGING CONFERENCE

25-Jun-2019 00:04:38
Speaking at the opening of the 2019 pledging conference for UNRWA, officially the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UN Chief António Guterres said, “given what is at stake at the human level, at the political and security level, and at the multilateral level, we must rise to the challenge and empower UNRWA to continue its important and impressive work.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / UNRWA PLEDGING CONFERENCE
TRT: 4:38
SOURCE: UNIFEED
LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 25 JUNE 2019, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE - RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, United Nations Headquarters

25 JUNE 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Various shots, conference room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“So today, given what is at stake at the human level, at the political and security level, and at the multilateral level, we must rise to the challenge and empower UNRWA to continue its important and impressive work.”
4. Wide shot, podium
5. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“It is tragic that a political solution has not yet been reached that satisfies the needs and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis. I reiterate the importance of continuing to pursue peace efforts to realise the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”
6. Med shot, Krähenbühl at podium
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“We are now facing a funding gap that will rise through the year in the absence of new contributions. It is absolutely crucial to avoid a break-down, for example, our food pipeline-line for a million people in Gaza for example. It is similarly essential that UNRWA can open the next school year on time in August and September.”
8. Wide shot, conference room
9. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hanan, UNRWA Student Parliamentarian in West Bank:
“I have lived a life of suffering. I hear the sounds of explosions and bullets in the streets of our camps in the West Bank. I wake up from my sleep, terrified by the sounds of loud knocking on our doors, asking my dad to open the door for random inspection in the middle of the night. On my way to school, stops at checkpoints with all what it means in terms of humiliation are an ordinary part of my day. But I forgot about these things once I entred the school because UNRWA education gives me security and hope. I know that it is the place that I will achieve my dreams and ambitions. Especially as a girl, I feel strongly about the fact that this education is the only instrument I have for a better future.”
10. Med shot, podium
11. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Hatem, UNRWA Student Parliamentarian in Gaza:
“We the children of Gaza lived through hardship. It is true that I did not choose to live under war or blockade, but I chose to study hard everyday, and I chose to become a young leader by joining UNRWA’s Central School Parliament. UNRWA education allows me to learn about my rights, and to try to practice them, even if we are denied some of these rights, for no fault of our own, just because we are Palestine refugees. It also allowed me to learn about my responsibilities towards our world. It helps me become a better person. UNRWA education is just like oxygen, it keeps us alive.”
12. Various shots, conference room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Deputy Permanent Observer, State of Palestine:
“We similarly reject the attempts to diminish or negate the rights of the Palestine refugees and reject their characterization as an aid dependent community, willingly living in camps. On the contrary, despite untold loss and tragedy, displacement and exile, they have been steadfast and contributed broadly, positively and proudly to their communities.”
14. Wide shot, conference room
15. Wide shot, Krähenbühl walking to stakeout
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“When we look at the statements of support and when we look at the announcements that were made in the room today and the immediate runup to this particular pledging conference, we have announcements of just over 110 million US dollars which is very important to our overall funding requirements of this year, of 1.2 billion US dollars, that’s the overall amount, so we know that with all the efforts that are underway by the Organization to mobilize the funding, over 110 million is an important amount.”
17. Wide shot, Krähenbühl leaving stakeout
STORYLINE
Speaking at the opening of the 2019 pledging conference for UNRWA, officially the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UN Chief António Guterres said, “given what is at stake at the human level, at the political and security level, and at the multilateral level, we must rise to the challenge and empower UNRWA to continue its important and impressive work.”

Secretary-General António Guterres today (25 Jun) highlighted that UNRWA has faithfully and effectively fulfilled its mandate to assist Palestine refugees until a just and lasting solution is found.

He reiterated the importance of "continuing to pursue peace efforts to realise the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”

Guterres noted, “it is tragic that a political solution has not yet been reached that satisfies the needs and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis.”

The UN chief also noted that the continued work of UNRWA should be viewed not only as common responsibility, but as common success. He stated that UNRWA’s innovative health care services maintain high standards and are remarkably cost-effective. Guterres stressed that UNRWA has taken extraordinary reform and cost-control measures to reduce inefficient spending.

According to UN, over the past five years, UNRWA has saved $500 million through these internal measures. Its emergency and social services address the fundamental needs of millions. In Gaza alone, one million Palestine refugees depend on UNRWA for food.

Also addressing Member States, Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General of UNRWA said that his office launched global appeals for 1.2 billion US dollars for its operations in 2019, and it is the exact amount that was mobilized last year.

However, Krähenbühl reiterated, “we are now facing a funding gap that will rise through the year in the absence of new contributions. It is absolutely crucial to avoid a break-down, for example, our food pipeline-line for a million people in Gaza. It is similarly essential that UNRWA can open the next school year on time in August and September.”

The Commissioner General noted that the contributions are vital, over half a million boys and girls were able to return to their schools on time last year, and it was a moment of celebration.

Krähenbühl also stated that the depth of psychosocial trauma resulting from years of conflict, blockade and violence and affecting almost every family in the Strip, has reached what UNRWA’s health staff describe as “epidemic proportions.” In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the life of the Palestine refugees are defined in every aspect by the ongoing occupation from home demolition, forced evictions, to lack of freedom of movement and violence.

14-year-olds Hanan and Hatem traveled to New York to speak at the Pledging Conference. They were elected to represent 536,000 UNRWA students from Gaza and the West Bank, and are a testament to the importance of preserving education for refugees.

Hanan told delegates, “I have lived a life of suffering. I hear the sounds of explosions and bullets in the streets of our camps in the West Bank. I wake up from my sleep, terrified by the sounds of loud knocking on our doors, asking my dad to open the door for random inspection in the middle of the night. On my way to school, stops at checkpoints with all what it means in terms of humiliation are an ordinary part of my day.”

She continued, “but I forgot about these things once I entered the school because UNRWA education gives me security and hope. I know that it is the place that I will achieve my dreams and ambitions. Especially as a girl, I feel strongly about the fact that this education is the only instrument I have for a better future.”

Hatem, who was born in Gaza and has experienced three wars at the age of four, eight and ten, told the delegates that during his darkest time, UNRWA education was his only hope for a better future. He said that UNRWA schools continue to provide quality education during emergency and give the children a sense of normality.

Hatem said, “we the children of Gaza lived through hardship. It is true that I did not choose to live under war or blockade, but I chose to study hard everyday, and I chose to become a young leader by joining UNRWA’s Central School Parliament.”

He continued, “UNRWA education allows me to learn about my rights, and to try to practice them, even if we are denied some of these rights, for no fault of our own, just because we are Palestine refugees. It also allowed me to learn about my responsibilities towards our world. It helps me become a better person. UNRWA education is just like oxygen, it keeps us alive.”

Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine commended on the importance of UNRWA’s work for the Palestine refugees and thanked donors for their contribution to keep UNRWA’s operations going.

She also said, “we similarly reject the attempts to diminish or negate the rights of the Palestine refugees and reject their characterization as an aid dependent community, willingly living in camps. On the contrary, despite untold loss and tragedy, displacement and exile, they have been steadfast and contributed broadly, positively and proudly to their communities.”

Later, speaking to reporters after the meeting, UNRWA’s Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “when we look at the statements of support and when we look at the announcements that were made in the room today and the immediate runup to this particular pledging conference, we have announcements of just over 110 million US dollars which is very important to our overall funding requirements of this year, of 1.2 billion US dollars, that’s the overall amount, so we know that with all the efforts that are underway by the Organization to mobilize the funding, over 110 million is an important amount.”

The Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly (GA) for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA met today at the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The conference, established by GA Resolution 1729, is the primary forum for the announcement by Member States of their financial support for UNRWA.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the GA in 1949 and mandated to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to 5.4 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The Agency, which is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions by Member States, managed to bridge a USD 446 million shortfall in 2018 thanks to the generous support of Member States, in addition to UNRWA’s USD 92 million in internal cost saving measures. In 2019 UNRWA has presented a zero-growth budget of 1.2 billion. Without further contributions, UNRWA will begin facing funding shortfalls at the end of June.
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