"For the first time since 1949--the date of its creation--UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) assembled in Geneva for the past two days. This has been a unique opportunity for the international community to renew its support for the Agency's activities and its determination to respond to the humanitarian needs of 4.1 million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. More necessary then ever, the Agency has been in a precarious financial situation since the beginning of the Second Intifada.
The UNRWA, which employs 24,000 individuals recruited from the local area and manages more than 400 million dollars from voluntary contributions, needs an increase in its operational budget in order to respond to the increased population that is dependent upon the Agency. During the meeting at Geneva, ways of increasing the Agency's ability to fulfill its mission in the areas of education, health and economic development were debated. Proposals were formulated, and they will be examined further in meetings at the Agency's headquarters and in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The development of three-way partnerships between UNRWA, donors, and the relevant authorities of the host countries was strongly emphasized in order to favor a better mobilization of resources."
--Statement of the French Foreign Ministry, June 9, 2004. UNRWA's Advisory Committee consists of Belgium, Egypt, France, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.