The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, has completed a visit to Switzerland, during which he highlighted the critical needs of Palestine refugees and the key role of Switzerland’s support to the Agency.
Lazzarini met with State Secretary of Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Livia Leu, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) senior officials, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and members of parliament.
Following his meeting with the Swiss State Secretary in Bern, Lazzarini said: "We are thankful for Switzerland's substantial support to UNRWA education, healthcare and social services. This is crucial in the face of conflicts, COVID-19, poverty, and rising food prices. Young Palestine refugees crave a better future: they want to be well trained, find good jobs, and fulfil their dreams. Our strong partnership with Switzerland promotes youth empowerment through vocational education and training programmes (TVET).”
State Secretary Leu emphasized the importance of the stability of UNRWA for the region and expressed her concerns regarding the looming challenges to food security due to the war in Ukraine.
On 9 June, UNRWA Commissioner-General also met Head of Humanitarian Aid of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Manuel Bessler, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) senior officials, and members of parliament.
Lazzarini briefed them on the current challenges facing Palestine refugees, the impact of Switzerland's support to UNRWA's development programmes and emergency assistance and the Agency’s contribution to stability in the region.
In 2021, Switzerland was ranked the Agency’s seventh largest donor in terms of overall funding to UNRWA, with over US$ 31.6 million in contributions, and approved in 2021 new multi-year funding for the UNRWA core budget, strategic interventions in the area of TVET and job creation and UNRWA reforms.