UNGA Current Affairs - 2019

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19 August: World Humanitarian Day

The World Humanitarian Day is observed every year on August 19 across the world to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service.

Purpose of this day: (i) Provide opportunity to celebrate spirit that inspires humanitarian work around globe. (ii) Pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and (iii) Rally support for people affected by crisis around the world.

2019 WHD theme campaign: #WomenHumanitarians. It seeks to honour work of women in crises throughout the world. Women humanitarians make up large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often first to respond and the last to leave and dedicate their lives to helping people affected by crises.

World Humanitarian Day

It was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution A/63/L.49 in 2008. It was sponsored by Sweden and was passed by UNGA on Strengthening of Coordination of Emergency Assistance of UN. Since 2009, this day is observed annually by humanitarian community across the world to ensure safety and security of humanitarian aid workers and for their well-being, survival and dignity of people affected by crisis.

Why August 19? The day marks death of then Special Representative of Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues who were killed in bombing in Baghdad, Iraq on August 19, 2003.

India pledges $5 Million aid to UN Palestine Refugee Agency in 2019

India has pledged to contribute $5 Million in 2019 to United Nation Palestine refugee agency. This move comes amid India voiced its concern over agency’s financial situation and called for ensuring sustained financial support for its work.

India and UNRWA

During UN General Assembly (UNGA) Ad Hoc Committee meeting for Voluntary Contributions to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in June 2019, India notified that it has increased its annual financial contribution fourfold to UNRWA core budget from $1.25 Million in 2016 to $5 million in 2018 in solidarity with Palestine refugees.

Every year Government of India is assisting 150 Palestinian professionals under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.

Also in past 5 years under India-Palestine Development Partnership, several agreements have been signed in fields of IT, agriculture, healthcare, women’s empowerment, media, consular affairs and youth affairs.

About UNRWA

It is a relief and human development agency that was established in 8 December 1949. Since 1950 it has been providing relief, social services health and education as well as emergency humanitarian assistance.

Mandate: It supports registered Palestinian refugees, and their patrilineal descendants, who fled/expelled their homes during Palestine war (1948) and those who fled/expelled during and following Six Day war (1967). At present Agency serves 5.4 million Palestinian refugees 20% of world’s refugees.

It provides aid in 5 fields of operation– Syria, West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, Lebanon, and Gaza Strip. Aid for Palestinian refugees outside these 5 areas of operation is provided by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

The meeting of Ad Hoc Committee, established by UN General Assembly is the primary forum for announcing financial support. At this year’s meet a total of 23 donors announced contributions, or their intention to contribute, to UNRWA’s 2019 budget.

Almost all of UNRWA’s resources come from voluntarily contributions, with a limited donor base of traditional donors.

Current Situation: Currently UNRWA is under difficult financial situation which has caused concern and has put to risk Agency’s core services to Palestine refugees, especially in fields of health, education and assistance to the most vulnerable refugees.