UN Affairs

Guterres Taps New Blood to Check Out UNRWA – So, What’s the Deal?

The independent Review Group – appointed in consultation with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini – will examine whether the agency is doing everything it can to ensure neutrality and to respond to allegations of serious breaches when they arise.

It will be led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who will work with three research organizations: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden, the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

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Work will begin on 14 February and an interim report is expected to be submitted to the Secretary-General in late March. The final report, which will be made public, is expected to be completed by late April.

Parallel investigations 

The review is in response to a request made by the UNRWA Commissioner-General last month.

It will take place in parallel with an investigation currently underway by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) into allegations of the involvement of 12 UNRWA personnel in the 7 October attacks. 

“The accusations come at a time when UNRWA, the largest UN organization in the region, is working under extremely challenging conditions to deliver lifesaving assistance to the two million people in the Gaza Strip who depend on it for their survival amidst one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world,” the Secretary-General said in a statement. 

The UN warned last week that aid operations in Gaza are at risk as 16 donor countries have slashed support to the agency. 


Identify procedures, make recommendations 

The Secretary-General said the cooperation of the Israeli authorities, who made the allegations, will be critical to the investigation’s success, and his statement outlined the independent Review Group’s terms of reference.

The panel will identify the mechanisms and procedures that UNRWA currently has in place to ensure neutrality and to respond to allegations or information indicating that the principle may have been breached.

It will ascertain how those mechanisms and procedures have, or have not, been implemented in practice and whether every practicable effort has been made to apply them to their full potential, considering the particular operational, political and security environment in which the agency works.

Another task will be assessing if those mechanisms and procedures are fit for purpose, including in relation to the management of risks and again taking into account the operational, political and security context. 

Finally, the Review Group will make recommendations for the improvement and strengthening, if necessary, of the mechanisms and procedures that are currently in place or for the creation of new and alternative mechanisms and procedures that would be better fit for purpose while considering the particular operational, political and security context in which UNRWA works. 



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  1. It’s great to see that Guterres appointed an independent panel for reviewing UNRWA. I hope the panel, led by Catherine Colonna, will ensure accountability and transparency in the agency’s operations. Looking forward to the results in April!

  2. It is crucial for UNRWA to ensure its neutrality and address any serious breaches promptly. I believe the appointment of an independent Review Group, led by Catherine Colonna, is a positive step towards enhancing accountability and transparency within the agency. Looking forward to seeing the interim report in March and the final report in April.

  3. It’s great to see Guterres appointing outsiders to review UNRWA. Transparency and accountability are crucial in ensuring the agency’s neutrality and addressing any serious breaches effectively. Looking forward to reading the final report!

  4. It is crucial to have independent reviews like this to maintain transparency and accountability within organizations like UNRWA. I commend Guterres for taking swift action to address allegations and ensure neutrality. Looking forward to the findings of the report.

  5. So, what’s the deal with this new Review Group examining UNRWA’s neutrality and response to breaches? How will their findings impact the agency’s operations?

    1. Hey JenniferSmith123, the Review Group, led by Catherine Colonna, will evaluate UNRWA’s actions to ensure neutrality and address breaches. Their findings could influence how the agency operates moving forward.

  6. It’s crucial to have independent reviews like this to ensure accountability and transparency within organizations like UNRWA. I look forward to the insights that the Review Group led by Catherine Colonna will bring to light regarding the agency’s activities.

  7. It’s crucial that UNRWA ensures its neutrality and addresses any serious breaches promptly. The new review group led by Catherine Colonna seems like a step in the right direction to strengthen accountability and respond effectively to allegations. Looking forward to the interim report in late March and the final report in late April.

  8. I think it’s crucial to have an independent review group looking into UNRWA’s operations to ensure accountability and transparency. It’s important to address any allegations of serious breaches promptly to maintain the agency’s credibility and integrity.

  9. It’s crucial to have independent oversight to ensure that UNRWA maintains its neutrality and integrity. The appointment of Catherine Colonna and the collaboration with reputable research organizations show a commitment to transparency and accountability.

  10. Do you think the new Review Group appointed by Guterres will be able to bring about real change and ensure neutrality within UNRWA?

    1. Yes, I believe that the independent Review Group, led by Catherine Colonna, will play a crucial role in examining the UNRWA’s actions and ensuring neutrality. It’s essential for addressing any serious breaches effectively and promoting accountability.

  11. It’s crucial that UNRWA demonstrates complete transparency and accountability, especially in light of recent allegations. Catherine Colonna’s leadership in this review underscores the importance of upholding neutrality and addressing any breaches promptly. Looking forward to seeing the interim report in March and the final report in April.

  12. I believe Catherine Colonna’s appointment to lead the Review Group is a positive step towards ensuring transparency and accountability within UNRWA. It’s crucial to have independent oversight to address any allegations effectively.

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