This commissioned report has two main aims: First, providing a description of what UNRWA is, including its history, mandate and services, with particular emphasis on the recent funding deficit and how that has impacted its operations. Second, to explore the future for UNRWA and its services by investigating hypothetical scenarios.
The report traces the roots of UNRWA back to the 1948 Arab–Israeli war when some 750,000 people were uprooted and had to flee, creating the Palestinian refugee problem. In response, UNRWA was established to aid the refugees and continues to exist because no durable solutions to the refugee problem (repatriation, resettlement, integration or compensation) have been found. The report underscores the responsibility of the international community for creating the refugee problem and finding its solution.