Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Ministerial-Level Meeting on UNRWA

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 21, 2023


– Thank you, Foreign Minister Safadi and Foreign Minister Billstrom for hosting this important event.

Secretary-General Guterres, Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors, and colleagues, it is my honor to represent the United States here today. As the current Chair of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission, the United States supports the agency’s critical assistance efforts.

And today, I am proud to announce the United States is providing more than $73 million in additional funding to support UNRWA’s core and emergency services.

This funding will help get food to needy families and provide health care to children and pregnant women. It will help students advance their education and support people affected by conflict with mental health services. It will provide immediate humanitarian relief to people in Jenin and Ein el Hilweh. And it will help create a more stable situation in communities.

I want to thank those who have generously supported the UNRWA flash appeal during the summer. And I want to strongly encourage Member States to join us in providing additional funding to UNRWA. Too often, countries voice their support for UNRWA without backing up their words with action. That needs to change.

In 2023 alone, the United States has contributed more than $296 million to UNRWA. And the Biden Administration has contributed nearly $1 billion since 2021. I encourage other Member-States to step up and make the financial commitments needed to fund UNRWA through the end of the year.

Colleagues, the United States appreciates efforts to explore concrete options that will set UNRWA on a more sustainable funding path. I want to stress that these conversations must include hosts, donors, and refugees.

We invite all stakeholders, including UNRWA, to come forward with tangible proposals on how to increase funding from regional donors and the private sector, expand cooperation on services to Palestinian refugees, and introduce additional cost efficiencies through the modernization of UNRWA.

As we work toward reform, the United States will continue to insist that UNRWA strengthens its effectiveness and financial sustainability. And as we do for all UN programs, we are putting all our weight behind monitoring everything UNRWA does with our funding. And we will continue to bolster the Agency’s accountability, transparency, and consistency with humanitarian principles, including neutrality.

Colleagues, we have to do everything in our power to lift up the inherent dignity of Palestinian refugees.  So let us work together and let us meet this moment with urgency and let us meet this moment with contributions that will reflect our support for UNWRA and the Palestinian refugees.

Thank you very much.