United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Office de secours et de travaux des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient
Organismo de Obras Públicas y Socorro de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados de Palestina en el Cercano Oriente (OOPS)

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8 Dec 1949, by General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV), as a subsidiary organ of United Nations (UN) within the United Nations System, linked to the General Assembly, to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees and to prepare for the time when the relief assistance was no longer needed. Operations commenced on 1 May 1950. Although not originally envisaged as a permanent organization, in the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem the UN General Assembly has repeatedly extended the mandate, most recently to 30 June 2005.


In cooperation with host authorities, provide registered Palestine refugees with essential humanitarian assistance in the areas of: education; health; relief and social services; microfinance and microenterprise; projects; emergency operations.

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Areas of operation comprise Jordan, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Works in cooperation with governing authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory, West Bank and Gaza, and with governments of the host countries for Palestine refugees - Jordan, Syria and Lebanon - serving a refugee population of over 4 million, of whom 1.2 million live in 59 official refugee camps. Provides services direct to beneficiaries, planning and executing activities and projects and building and administering facilities such as schools and clinics. Flexible mandate enables provision of different types of assistance as conditions in the region change. Main Programmes (3):

- 'Education' - provides: basic elementary and preparatory schooling free of charge to all Palestine refugee children and youth in accordance with local government school systems; university level, pre-service teacher education for young Palestinian refugees and in-service training for UNRWA teachers, through UNRWA/UNESCO Institute of Education (IUNRWA/UNESCO IE); technical education and vocational training for young Palestinian refugees.

- 'Health Care' - offers primary health care through 122 facilities. Services include: outpatient medical care; disease prevention and control; maternal and child health care; family planning; special non-communicable disease care; dental care.

- 'Relief and Social Services' - provides a range of assistance to low-income refugees. This includes: food support; shelter reconstruction and repair; youth activities; skills training for women; assistance for mentally and physically challenged individuals; micro-credit to small entrepreneurs.

Other current activities:

- 'Emergency Operations' - since Oct 2000, has provided ongoing humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis to some 317,000 families affected by the strife in the occupied Palestinian territory. Assistance includes: food aid; job creation; post-injury medical care and rehabilitation; psychological counselling for youth; remedial education for schooling interrupted by the conflict.

- 'Microfinance and Micro-enterprise Programme' - helps to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth, supporting development of the micro-enterprise and small business sector by providing working capital and capital investment loans.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 21 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 32 non-governmental organizations.
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Information Services

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Members in 10 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Society
    • Refugees
  • Social Activity
    • Agency
    • Welfare
  • Commerce
    • Business Enterprises
  • International Relations
    • United Nations
  • Peace
    • Humanitarian

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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