Canada to Reinstate Funding to the UNRWA

What’s Happening

After halting funding to the UNRWA, the UN organization in charge of humanitarian operations within Gaza, Canada has announced that they are reinstating funding to the UNRWA after reviewing an ‘interim report’ done by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on allegations made against the UNRWA by Israel.

The Israeli allegations claimed that 190 UNRWA staff were in cooperation with Hamas and other Palestinian militant organizations, including 12 people who they say participated in the initial October 7th attack by Hamas.

Following the allegations, nearly two dozen different international entities, including the US and Germany (the UNRWA’s two largest donors), halted funding to the UNRWA pending an investigation by the OIOS into the allegations.

The UN suspended its contracts with the accused, however the investigation itself has been slow, with Israel refusing to share any evidence both with the UN, as well as with many nations intelligence agencies. The decision to cut funding was undertaken by all of the entities which cut funding without having seen any evidence to support the Israeli claims.

The OIOS began a full investigation into the allegations after they arose. The investigation is headed by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. While they have released an interim report, the full investigation could take a total of six months to a year.

Canada appears to have been satisfied with the results of this report, as Canadian International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen has announced that Canada is reinstating funding to the UNRWA based on the results of the report.

In recognition of the robust investigative processes underway, UNRWA’s efforts to address serious allegations made against some of its staff, including the implementation of internal measures to improve oversight and accountability, as well as the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, Canada is resuming its funding to UNRWA so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians. Canada will continue to take the allegations against some of UNRWA’s staff extremely seriously and we will remain closely engaged with UNRWA and the UN to pursue accountability and reforms” -Canadian International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen

Canadian International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen (Photo from the Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld).

The EU, another entity which cut funding for the UNRWA, has also recently resumed funding to the UNRWA.

Notably, in Canada’s announcement of resuming funding, they specified that no scheduled payments from Canada to the UNRWA were missed. As such, Canada’s standard payment of 25 million CAD will be delivered in April.

Additional Measures

In addition to the resumption of funding, Canada announced several other measures it was taking in order to assist in the general humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Minister Hussen announced that Canada would begin “supporting Jordan and the World Food Programme (WFP)to conduct airdrops in Gaza.” The exact nature of the “support” being offered is unknown, however Minister Hussen did additionally state that the Canadian military would be supplying the Royal Jordanian Air Force with “approximately 300 cargo parachutes” in order to maintain Jordan’s supply of parachutes to continue airdrop deliveries of aid.

A photo of Jordanian aid being prepared for delivery to Gaza (Photo from King Abdullah on twitter).

Hussen also announced the donation of 100,000CAD in funding to the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization “for the purchase of supplies such as food, blankets, and winter clothing.” He further added that Canada would be providing “substantial funding” to the WFP, however did not specify exactly how much funding would be provided.

Ending the statement, Canada reiterated calls for an expansion of entry points for aid into Gaza, as well as their support for a two-state solution.

Facing Collapse

The resumption of Canadian funding, while a small amount compared to the UNRWA’s over one billion annual budget, is still likely to be well received by the UNRWA who had their funding almost halved at the end of January.

The affects of the cut have already been apparent. Humanitarian aid entering Gaza in February was half that of January. In addition, alarm bells have been sounding over an impending famine for Gaza’s more than 2 million people, particularly in the north where food aid by the UNRWA, the organization in charge of the vast majority of humanitarian operations within Gaza, was halted completely.

The UNRWA announced the halt of aid deliveries to northern Gaza both due to supply problems, but also due to the untenable security situation and continued Israeli military action.

The UNRWA is facing a potential collapse of its humanitarian operations, which were already extensively strained. UN Secretary General Antontio Guterres has urged donor nations to resume funding.

The population of Gaza, approximately 2.3 million people, is dependent on the UNRWA. A collapse of the UNRWA would represent a disastrous situation for the civilian population, which is already suffering extensively.

In the face of the UNRWA’s extensive supply and delivery issues, several nations including Jordan, the US, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Egypt have began airdrops over Gaza in order to deliver supplies to the north, which the UNRWA cannot access by land.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


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