United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)


HQ: Amman, Jordan and Gaza

Focal Point: Neil Ashcroft

Number of locations: 6

Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Commissioner-General's message


“UNRWA aims to contribute to UN efforts to collectively achieve climate neutrality through systematic, sustained, and measured reduction in consumption of electricity, travel, and fuel and energy consumption in its operations, when possible in all areas that are under its direct control Since unsustainable human activities are the root cause of environmental issues, changes in attitudes and human behaviour, correcting misconceptions of the environment are all required to solve the pervasive problem of environmental degradation. UNRWA acknowledges that it has a key role to play in addressing the environmental issues within the Palestine refugee community and an obligation to minimize the negative environmental impacts of its own operations. UNRWA will also promote energy, water, and material conservation amongst the Palestine refugee community, emphasizing the environmental benefits and prospective cost-savings to refugees as consumers. In support of the above, UNRWA is in the process of developing an Environmental management framework to guide the efforts of the organization.”

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General, UNRWA




UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, social safety-net, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict.


Experience so far


UNRWA started the process to become climate-neutral as of 1 January 2008, which means that emissions are to be reduced in so far as operationally possible. In 2008, UNRWA attempted to track the required information to capture main emissions related to its operations and completed, by August 2009, its first climate footprint assessment.


Reduction efforts


UNRWA is piloting a near climate neutral school in Gaza. 




Due to financial constraints, it is not expected to offset emissions in the next two years.


Next steps


The Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department plans to design buildings with a lower energy and water consumption for two different climate zones.