UNRWA Representative Office for Europe

UNRWA Representative Office for Europe works closely with EU institutions, EU Member States and European countries to advocate for the support of Palestine refugees’ human development, humanitarian and protection needs.

Agency Overview

Following the 1948 conflict, UNRWA was established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949, to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.

The mission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is to help Palestine refugees in in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to achieve their full potential in human development pending a just solution to their plight.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2026.

The Agency services encompass education for more than half a million children, primary health care for 2 million patients, relief and social services, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response.

Since UNRWA began its operations, the Agency has:

  • Educated over 2.5 million girls and boys
  • Reached gender parity in its classrooms in the mid-1960s
  • Achieved universal infant vaccination
  • Reduced maternal mortality beyond global standards

UNRWA Representative Office for Europe

UNRWA Representative Office for Europe works closely with EU institutions, EU Member States and European countries to advocate for the support of Palestine refugees’ human development, humanitarian and protection needs.

The Office advances the EU-UNRWA Strategic Partnership, encompassing programmatic and funding cooperation, and promoting a better understanding of UNRWA’s mandate vis-à-vis European institutions, European governments, think tanks, NGOs, civil society organizations, media, and the general public.

Services and Programs

UNRWA services encompass primary and vocational education, primary health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.

Through its programmes, UNRWA actively contributes to the attainment of 11 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Key Areas of Work

UNRWA’s work revolves around the following thematic areas:

  • Education: UNRWA has worked for nearly 75 years to ensure that Palestine refugee children have access to quality education. UNRWA now operates more than 700 elementary and preparatory schools in its five fields of operation, providing basic education for more than 500,000 Palestine refugee children. In addition, technical vocational training and higher education is provided at eight Vocational Training Centres for approximately 8,000 Palestine refugees in all fields of operation.School children in UNRWA schools follow the host authorities’ curricula and textbooks, and the Agency supplements these with its own materials on human rights. Unique to the region, UNRWA teaches Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (HRCRT) in its schools.
  • Health: For over 60 years, the UNRWA Health programme has been delivering comprehensive primary health care services, both preventive and curative, to Palestine refugees.
  • Relief & Social Services: The UNRWA Relief and Social Services (RSS) programme provides a range of direct and indirect social protection services. Its three main goals are to provide quarterly social safety net assistance to the most impoverished Palestine refugees; to maintain, update and preserve Palestine refugees’ records; and to empower the Palestine refugees it serves.
  • Microfinance: UNRWA provides sustainable income-generation opportunities for Palestine refugees, as well as other poor or marginalized groups who live and work near them. It extends credit and complementary financial services to households, entrepreneurs and small-business owners. These investments create and sustain jobs, reduce poverty and empower our clients, particularly women.
  • Infrastructure & Camp Improvement: UNRWA’s Infrastructure and Camp Improvement programme addresses the deteriorating environments of UNRWA-recognized Palestine refugee camps in the Agency’s field of operations. 
  • Emergency Response: Since its establishment, UNRWA has always taken action to mitigate the effects of emergencies on the lives of Palestine refugees. In 2021, over 1.7 million people received life-saving humanitarian assistance from UNRWA, funded through the
  • Protection: UNRWA protection activities aim to respond to the protection needs of Palestine refugees amidst increasing conflict and displacement in the region. Across the Agency, our diverse protection activities include child protection, disability inclusion, protection from gender-based violence (GBV), and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).

Impact and Results

Young Gazan Palestine refugee and UNRWA alumna Ghada Krayem shares her story at the Global State of Human Rights Conference, jointly organised by the European Parliament and the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, Italy. Ghada Krayem is one of the first women technicians from the class of a solar energy course at the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre (GTC). In 2021, she was granted the Green Skills Award by the European Training Foundation (ETF)’s after thousands of citizens from all over the world voted for the ‘best practice in teaching and learning of green skills’  by the European Parliament and the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, Italy.

UNRWA and British Council sign landmark cooperation agreement to support Palestine refugee students. The UNRWA-British Council agreement includes the Global Schools Programme, which helps build the capacity of teachers and connects local issues to global ones, including climate change, gender equality, and the use of information technology in education. The agreement provides an opportunity to expand the Agency’s English-language programme in schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

UNRWA School Teacher Wins Earth Prize Educator of the Year. The global Earth Prize, challenges and inspires students to effect change in their communities, through active participation.

Accountability and Governance

Organizational structure

UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations agencies, with over 30,000 personnel working across five areas of operations, and is unique in that it delivers services directly to beneficiaries.

UNRWA Headquarters are located in Amman and in Gaza. The Agency maintains a field office in each of its areas of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – and liaison offices in New York, Washington, Brussels and Cairo.

Advisory Commission

The Advisory Commission was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8 December 1949. It is tasked with advising and assisting the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in carrying out the Agency’s mandate. Consisting of four members when it was first created, today the Advisory Commission (AdCom) is made up of 29 Members and 4 Observers, including the EU.

Humanitarian Principles and accountability

As an Agency with a humanitarian mandate – namely, to assist and protect Palestine refugees –, the Humanitarian Principles not only guide UNRWA’s work, but make it possible. From ensuring the sanctity of our shelters in times of crisis, to maintaining access to the most vulnerable populations and advocating on behalf of Palestine refugees, the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence are at the heart of all UNRWA operations.


UNRWA Representative Office for Europe
Residence Palace (Letter Box 7)
Rue de la Loi 155, B-1040 Bruxelles
Tel: +32.2 290 34 30
Reach us at: [email protected]


EU-UNRWA Partnership

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. Today, the EU is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees, and our partnership has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

In 2021, the EU and UNRWA signed a Joint Declaration in support of the Agency for the period 2021-2024, marking 50 years of partnership. In the Joint Declaration, the EU commits to continue supporting UNRWA politically and in securing predictable, multi-annual financial resources to enable the Agency to fulfil its mandate and provide its essential services to Palestinian refugees.

Support and Funding

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, including regional governments, and the European Union. Together, these sources represent close to 93 percent of financial contributions to the Agency.

You can find more about EU commitments to UNRWA here: 2014 – 2018 and 2019 – 2023.

Publications and Reports