UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST - UNRWA
Bayader Wadi Sees
PO Box 14015
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Mr Pierre Krâhenbûhl
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) administered the oath of office to Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 20 April 2015. The Secretary-General (left) with Mr. Krähenbühl after the swearing in. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Appointed by the UN Secretary-General in November 2013, Pierre Krähenbühl became UNRWA Commissioner-General on 30 March 2014. As Commissioner-General, he serves at the level of Under-Secretary-General.
A Swiss national born in 1966, Mr. Krähenbühl has 25 years of experience in humanitarian, human rights and development work.
Prior to joining UNRWA, he served as Director of Operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from July 2002 to January 2014, responsible for the conduct, management and supervision of 12,000 ICRC staff working in 80 countries. In this position, Mr. Krähenbühl directly oversaw the ICRC response to conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Colombia and Libya among others. He led senior-level negotiations with a range of governments, armed forces and other groups to secure access to conflict-affected populations.
Mr. Krähenbühl’s experience also includes diverse and demanding field assignments in places experiencing profound social change and armed conflict, including El Salvador, Peru, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The father of three boys, he holds an MA in Political Sciences and International Relations from the University of Geneva.
On assuming the post of UNRWA Commissioner-General, Mr. Krähenbühl said: “The momentous events across the region are having a profound impact on the lives of UNRWA beneficiaries who are facing one of the most serious protection crises in their history. This presents a challenge which I shall embrace with determination, realism and humility.”
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.
The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by 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.
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 2017.