JERUSALEM, 1st September, 2016 (WAM) – The Government of Italy, through the Italian Development Cooperation, has contributed EUR6.6 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the agency’s core programmes and services.

This year’s amount represents a 61 per cent increase over the Italian contribution to the UNRWA programme budget in 2015, and is the first part of a total EUR10 million commitment by the Italian government to the Agency in 2016. This commitment was announced during the commissioner-general’s two-day mission to Italy in May, during which he met with several senior government officials, as well as members of the academic, non-profit and media sectors.

“We express our sincere appreciation to the government and people of Italy, who have been a consistent and reliable supporter of UNRWA and of Palestine refugees,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.

“This timely contribution is very important to UNRWA’s ability to deliver core services to Palestine refugees throughout the region, including education, healthcare, relief and social services, and camp improvement,” he added.

In 2015, Italy contributed EUR8.75 million (US$9.56 million) to UNRWA, including EUR4.1 million ($4.36 million) for the Agency’s core programmes and services, EUR1 million ($1.09 million) in support of the Agency’s humanitarian response to the emergency in Yarmouk, Syria and EUR2.18 million ($2.39 million) for food assistance in Gaza.

In addition to the above-mentioned core contribution, the remainder of the EUR10 million commitment from the Italian Cooperation will fund further humanitarian initiatives that will be implemented by UNRWA in the occupied Palestinian territory and in response to the Syria regional crisis.