Long-term support to UNRWA’s reform


Through this contribution, Switzerland enables UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) to pursue the implementation of two key reform areas from its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-21, namely: the Resource Mobilization Strategy and the Protection Framework. These reforms will improve UNRWA’s ability to deliver its core services by stabilizing the Agency’s financial situation and by strengthening its capacities to deliver its protection mandate.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Education
Health
Primary education
Primary health care
01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020
CHF 6'668'468
Background

Palestine refugees in the Near East face a complex human development and protection crisis. Poverty levels and protection threats are rising, exacerbated by the protracted crisis in the Gaza Strip and the conflict in Syria.

Despite this challenging operating environment, UNRWA has made significant progress in terms of quality and cost effectiveness of its services as a result of internal reforms. Recurrent deficits in its Programme Budget, which covers UNRWA’s core services, risk jeopardizing these achievements and represent serious risks for refugees, UNRWA and the region as a whole.

Stabilizing UNRWA’s financial situation and strengthening its protection interventions is essential to sustain the human development and protection needs of Palestine refugees.

Objectives The overall goal is to support UNRWA’s long-term reform process, thus enabling the Agency to provide better quality and more efficient services to Palestine refugees.
Target groups
  • Resource Mobilization: 5.3 Mio Palestine refugees registered in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza.
  • Protection: the most vulnerable Pal. refugees.
  • Both reforms: 30’000 UNRWA employees (91% Palestine refugees themselves) and the communities in which they live.
Medium-term outcomes
  • UNRWA’s ability to carry out its mandate is safeguarded by securing adequate and predictable financial resources; and
  • Refugees’ rights under international law are increasingly protected and promoted.
Results

Expected results:  

  • Additional funds are attracted from donors, private sector/individual donors and International Financial Institutions; predictability is increased (e.g. multi-year agreements); and UNRWA is able to bridge the 2018-20 deficits.
  • Protection policies and guidelines are operationalized at field level.


Results from previous phases:  

  • The Enterprise Resource Planning System strengthened UNRWA decision-making with a state-of-the-art platform that integrates finance, procurement and human resources (Phase 1).
  • The Resource Mobilization Strategy enabled UNRWA to bridge the 2014-16 Programme Budgets deficits by increasing contributions from traditional UNRWA donors (+USD 11 Mio from 2015 to 2016) and the private sector (+2); by confirming Arab countries’ commitments (+50 Mio); and by securing contributions from new donors (Russia and India).
  • Through e-health, electronic files replaced paper records generating improvements in quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness (Phase 2).
  • Protection was established as Strategic Outcome 1 in the Medium Term Strategy 2016-21 and key policy and guidelines were developed (Phase 3).


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East


Other partners
The 30 members of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission (donors and host governments); and UN Agencies involved in protection.
Coordination with other projects and actors The intervention complements Switzerland’s multi-year un-earmarked contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget (Humanitarian Aid credit line). Switzerland seeks coordination with like-minded donors and host countries on matters related to the reforms.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   6'668'468 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   4'668'468
Project phases Phase 4 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020   (Current phase) Phase 3 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2017   (Completed) Phase 2 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015   (Completed) Phase 1 01.12.2013 - 31.12.2014   (Completed)