Statement by Turkey at the “Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA”

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 25.06.2019
H.E. Secretary-General,
Madam President, Mr. Commissioner General, Excellencies,
Let me start by expressing our heartfelt appreciation for UNRWA’s determined efforts to deliver essential services for around 6 million Palestine refugees. The Agency proved its value by greatly performing over 70 years, not only for refugees, but for the whole region.
We also commend the Commissioner-General for his resolve to continue the operations unabated, in particular the education services.
2018 has been an extraordinarily challenging year for UNRWA. But at the same time, a remarkable mobilization and support have been provided for its survival.
As the Advisory Commission Chair, during this critical time, our ultimate objective has been the continuation of the staunch advocacy for UNRWA.
While we strived to materialize Secretary General’s recommendations in search for a durable solution to the Agency’s financial crisis, we also sought to widen its donor base.
In this context, we welcome the recent adoption of the Waqf Fund Statute at the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.
This is the result of our collective work during our OIC Summit Chairmanship. We hope that the Waqf Fund will be a useful tool in providing sustainable funding for UNRWA's operations. Operationalization of the World Bank Endowment Fund will further create new avenues to this end.
As part of our endeavors towards widening the donor base of the Agency, we are glad that the Advisory Commission has now become a more inclusive body, with an increased geographical diversity. One concrete outcome has been the allocation of one million US Dollars by Afghanistan in support of UNRWA.
And with the recent membership of Qatar, the Comission will further reinforce its advocacy for more predictable and sufficient financial contributions. We are confident that the incoming Chair Jordan will continue this crucial work with success.
Madam President,
In the last two years, Turkey has increased its contribution to UNRWA by tenfold.
While we advanced our annual contribution in 2018, we also channeled an additional 10 million US Dollars at the Rome Ministerial Conference and increased our in-kind assistance.
Our national donation mobilization to support the Agency’s “Dignity is Priceless” campaign has also yielded tangible results.
I have the pleasure to announce that we will transfer 10 million US Dollars to UNRWA for our 2019 contribution, while we will also allocate 1 million US Dollars to the OIC Waqf Fund. Work is underway by our humanitarian and development authorities to determine our support as in-kind donations and reconstruction projects.
Madam President,
The widespread conflict and violence in the Middle East resulted in a protracted crisis with grave humanitarian consequences.
There will be no lasting humanitarian solution without a credible peace process. Preserving UNRWA’s lifeline services is crucial in the face of occupation, blockade and continued violence.
UNRWA is primarily funded from voluntary contributions and its chronic financial situation is still alarming. We call on the international community to increase and consolidate its political and financial support. In our various capacities, including as the Chair of the Working Group for the Financing of UNRWA, we are ready to maintain our efforts and engage with others for sustainable solutions.

Madam President,
2019 will be crucial in addressing these challenges amidst the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate by the end of the year.
It is clear that the role played by UNRWA is vital until a just and durable solution is reached in accordance with UN resolutions. We have UNRWA to address a consequence of a conflict. As a matter of fact, UNRWA is also part of the solution. Its indispensable mission requires our stronger commitment, without allowing any “spoilers” to ruin the future of millions. At stake are the rights and dignity of Palestine refugees, and the regional stability.

In light of the grim developments on the ground, our determination to extend the mandate of the Agency should remain solid. This is a duty flowing from our common humanity, as UNRWA’s mandate and functions constitute an investment for peace, security and sustainable development.
Thank you.