Project Case Study
Conducting a fiduciary risk assessment in Palestine
Assessing UNWRA's financial management processes
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is the main provider of basic services (including education, health and social services) for nearly 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Over 482,000 children are enrolled in UNRWA’s schools, their 137 health facilities receive over 11 million patient-visits annually, and they provide social services to over 260,000 social hardship cases. As the only mandated agency responsible for Palestine refugees, UNRWA also plays a crucial role in protection and advocacy.
UNRWA relies completely on voluntary funding to deliver services, so attracts donor support to ensure that that funding is spent with an acceptable level of fiduciary risk and value for money. In 2011 we were contracted by the Department for International Development to provide an initial assessment of the fiduciary risks it was facing and the extent to which its risk management systems were fit for purpose.
In consultation with UNRWA, DFID and other donor agencies, we undertook an independent assessment of its public financial management systems. We also assessed external risks, focusing on the fiduciary, development and geo-political issues faced in the countries in which UNRWA operates.
The findings were reported and presented to UNRWA and DFID, and we identified areas in which to recommend improvements. As a result of this work, DFID and other donors have greater assurance of the value for money of their contributions to UNRWA, which can be used to support the millions of refugees who need it most.