united nations relief and works agency

representative office to the european union, brussels

EU Support to UNRWA


Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have worked hand in hand to support the human development of Palestine refugees, which in turn has contributed to safeguarding stability in the Middle East and the hope for peace.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely (97 per cent) by voluntary contributions from UN Member States and the European Commission.

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. At a time when the Middle East faces rising radicalization and a multiplicity of refugee flows in the region and beyond, the role of UNRWA is both unique and hugely important.

In the course of four decades, this partnership has evolved with the EU and its Member States becoming not only the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees, but a key strategic partner committed to supporting UNRWA in the absence of a just and durable solution to the plight of Palestine refugees. Through multiannual Joint Declarations, the EU has provided reliable and predictable support to the UNRWA Programme Budget, which covers the Agency’s crucial services in the field of education, health and relief and social services. In addition, the EU and its Member States collectively are also among the largest contributors to the Agency’s humanitarian emergency appeals – including in Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory – and projects in response to various crises and specific needs across the region, such as the construction of new shelters for poor refugees, the Agency’s renowned Education in Emergencies programme, and the rehabilitation of UNRWA schools and clinics where there has been an absolute need to do so to improve UNRWA services



UNRWA achievements with EU support

  • Nearly 50,000 Palestine refugee youth are benefiting from fully renovated safe recreational spaces where they can play, exercise, socialize and learn.

  • UNRWA schools continually and consistently outperform public schools by a margin equivalent to more than one additional year of learning, according to a 2014 World Bank report.

  • UNRWA provides basic education and primary health services at a fraction of the cost spent by OECD countries on their populations (approximatively ten per cent and one per cent of the costs per pupil and per patient respectively).

  • Since 1950, over 2 million Palestine refugee children have attended UNRWA schools.

  • The person-centred and holistic Family Health Team approach is now implemented in all five fields, significantly improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health services.

  • The immunization rate for young Palestine refugee children exceeds the immunization target sets by the World Health Organization.

  • In 2016, UNRWA transitioned from the provision of in-kind food assistance to a more effective and empowering cash-based approach in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank.

To learn more about the EU-UNRWA Partnership, please consult the EU-UNRWA Partnerhsip lealfet, available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Dutch.