India pledges to contribute USD 5 mn in 2019 to UN Palestine refugee agency

India has pledged to contribute USD 5 million in 2019 to the UN Palestine refugee agency, even as it voiced concern over the agency's difficult financial situation due to voluntary contributions from a limited donor base and called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for its work.

India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu said the Government of India has increased its annual financial contribution fourfold to the UNRWA core budget, from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2018.

He was speaking last week at a meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee for Voluntary Contributions to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that as a mark of India's solidarity with the Palestine refugees.

"We pledge to contribute USD 5 million in 2019, at the same level as in 2018," Naidu said.

He noted that there is a projected shortfall of more than USD 200 million against a funding requirement of approximately USD 1.2 billion for UNRWA in 2019, causing concerns in the Agency about its ability to provide essential services to the Palestine refugees.

"Almost all of the UNRWA's resources come from voluntarily contributions, with a limited donor base. This arrangement is fraught with uncertainties and could cause sudden crisis like the current one. Access to adequate predictable resources is the way forward," he said.