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

Mission of the organisation

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by General Assembly Resolution 302 in December 1949. Since then, the Agency has been mandated with providing critical relief, development and emergency services to 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees living in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Lebanon and Syria. 


The critical lifeline provided by UNRWA is required now more than ever. Palestine refugees are now facing extreme insecurity, vulnerability and isolation not seen in generations. The on-going denial of rights, constrained socio-economic conditions, and exposure to multiple crises – often spilling across borders – have severely impacted upon the ability of many refugees to attain basic standards of human development. The refugee population is growing, food insecurity and poverty levels are high and rising, and youth and unemployment rates are among the highest in the world. The threats of armed conflict, instability, and mass displacement in the region are an everyday reality. And yet, in spite of this, UNRWA provides access to vital services to all Palestine refugees, ensuring that the most vulnerable groups – including women, youth, persons with disabilities, and those living in abject poverty – have access to the skills and assets they need to live with dignity.


The Agency’s services today include:

  • Free primary education for 536,000 students
  • Free healthcare for 3.7 million refugees
  • Food and cash assistance for 1.6 million extremely vulnerable refugees
  • Vocational training for approximately 8,000 trainees


UNRWA is a unique UN Agency, in that it directly implements all programmes, including education, healthcare and social services, without subcontracting to implementing partners. UNRWA maintains its own entire infrastructure and support structures, and covers the full indirect costsThe majority of UNRWA’s 30,000 staff members (99 per cent), are Palestine refugees themselves and proudly deliver all the programmes mentioned.


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

Bayader Wadi Seer, PO Box 140157
Amman, 11814