Canada and Sweden resumed their funding to UNRWA, more than one month after suspending it.

Canada and Sweden announced that they will resume funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), more than a month after suspending it in line with about 15 other countries.

On Saturday, Sweden said it was resuming aid to the cash-strapped UN agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) with an initial disbursement of $20 million after receiving assurances of extra checks on its spending and personnel.

“The government has allocated 400 million kronor to UNRWA for the year 2024. Today’s decision concerns a first payment of 200 million kronor,” the Swedish government said in a statement.

It said that to unblock the aid, UNRWA had agreed to “allow controls, independent audits, to strengthen internal supervision, and extra controls of personnel.”

The Swedish move came after the European Commission earlier this month said it would release 50 million euros in UNRWA funding and in the aftermath of a similar move taken on Friday by the Canadian government.

“I’m announcing that Canada’s funding for UNRWA will resume,” Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen told reporters on Friday.

“We’re resuming funding to UNRWA because of the dire humanitarian situation on the ground,” he explained, noting that Canada was the first G7 nation to resume funding.

UNRWA has been at the center of controversy since Israel accused 12 of its employees in January of involvement in the October 7 attack carried out by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

After the accusations, the UN fired the accused employees who were still alive and launched an internal investigation.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also tasked an independent group with evaluating UNRWA and its neutrality.

In reaction to these accusations, about 15 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, and Japan, suspended funding to UNRWA at the end of January. The moves slashed the agency’s funds by $450 million — more than half of the funds received in 2023.

Canada has reviewed the investigation’s interim report, and “we were reassured by the contents,” Hussen said.

He also announced that Ottawa will partner with Jordan and the World Food Program to conduct airdrops in Gaza to deliver desperately needed food and other essentials.

“We’re looking at a serious risk of mass starvation in parts of Gaza, particularly in the north,” he warned.

With AFP