The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Middle East Centre together with the NCHS and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) hosted a breakfast conversation about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and its political and financial challenges. You can now listen to a recording of the discussion here.
UNRWA has provided humanitarian support to Palestinian refugees (currently numbering 5.9 million), as they wait for a political solution. After decades of conflict, such a solution has failed to materialise and UNRWA continues to need to exist. Despite this, it has struggled with persistent underfunding even though humanitarian needs are immense.
In the wake of multiple regional crises, the situation for Palestinian refugees is becoming increasingly precarious, while at the same time there has been an increasingly politicised debate concerning UNRWA funding in a number of donor countries.
Leni Stenseth, the Deputy Commissioner General for UNRWA, visited PRIO on Wednesday 15 February 2023 to lead a discussion on UNRWA’s political and financial challenges.
In the panel, she met Kjersti Berg (CMI), who together with Jørgen Jensehaugen (PRIO) presented a recent report that examines possible scenarios for UNRWA’s future. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry also offered perspectives on what Norway’s policy for UNRWA is. The seminar was moderated by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (PRIO and NCHS Co-Director).
You can access a copy of the report by Berg and Jensehaugen “UNRWA, funding crisis and the way forward” here.