UNRWA welcomes OIC’s approval of Waqf Fund to support Palestine refugees

Amman The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) welcomed Saturday's decision by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to establish and operationalize a Waqf (endowment) Fund, in support of Palestinian refugees.

In a statement published on its website on Monday, UNRWA warmly welcomed the decision, saying that it represents a major milestone in the efforts to diversify funding sources in support of the agency.

The Waqf Fund was first envisaged in a 2017 report by the UN Secretary General and announced at the Seventh Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2018. It primarily aims at sustaining and strengthening UNRWA's life-saving services to 5.4 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

UNRWA will rely on this Waqf, housed within the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), to bolster its comprehensive human development programs, which are recognized internationally for their long term impact, and their contribution to dignity and regional stability, the statement said.

This timely decision by the leaders and members of the OIC is a unique sign of solidarity with Pales-tine [sic] refugees, said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre KrA�henbuhl.

To be able to count on solid and predictable financial support such as the one promised by this Waqf is key to our ability to sustain the quality and scope of our services. I am immensely grateful to the Secretary-General of the OIC and member states, as well as to the President of IsDB for this important achievement and trust he added.

Once the Waqf is activated, OIC member states and other countries, in addition to the private sector and individuals will be able to contribute to it through the IsDB, thus participating in the sustainability of UNRWA's programs and the predictability of the funding necessary for their implementation, according to the statement.

Source: International Islamic News Agency