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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Government issues disbursement of SEK 200 million to UNRWA following new agreement on stricter controls


The Government decided to issue a disbursement of SEK 200 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The decision was taken in light of the acute humanitarian situation in Gaza and UNRWA’s new undertakings within the framework of a conditional statement assurance to Sweden.

UNRWA has agreed to allow independent auditing, strengthen internal supervision and enable additional staff controls. Sweden has now received bilateral confirmation of these undertakings from UNRWA, similar to the agreement entered into with the European Commission.

Sweden’s continued support is conditional on the measures set out in the statement of assurance. Sweden will receive the same information that that the European Commission receives concerning the progress UNRWA makes on controls, independent auditing, enhanced supervision and external reviews of staff. In addition, Sweden’s funding will be protected if there is suspicion or confirmation of risk, in line with the agreement with the European Commission.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is devastating and the needs are acute. We have already increased humanitarian support and are now issuing an initial disbursement to UNRWA following its written assurances directly to Sweden concerning increased transparency and stricter procedures. We will monitor closely to ensure UNRWA follows through on what it has promised,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell.

“In this acute situation, where needs among the civilian population are huge, the foremost priority is saving lives. UNRWA is the organisation that is best positioned to help vulnerable Palestinians. They have agreed to strict demands on controls, which enables Sweden to resume disbursements. We will continue to monitor UNRWA and analyse the organisation’s unique position,” says Gudrun Brunegård,” aid policy spokesperson for the Christian Democrats.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is very difficult. UNRWA is in need of reform, but right now the priority is for Sweden’s humanitarian support to reach those who need it most,” says Joar Forssell, foreign policy spokesperson for the Liberal Party. 

The Government has allocated SEK 400 million to UNRWA for 2024. Today’s decision concerns an initial disbursement of SEK 200 million. Additional disbursements will be issued this year as UNRWA makes progress on the measures to which it has agreed in order to strengthen internal supervision and controls.

Press contact

Victoria Holmqvist
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 76-142 29 39
email to Victoria Holmqvist