Year in Review


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CERF'S Impact

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CERF helped millions of people in 45 countries in 2011 by jump-starting critical relief operations, and ensuring that life-saving programmes did not stall due to lack of funding. The Fund responded to almost every major crisis worldwide in 2011, and some $427 million of CERF funds were allocated to 473 projects by 11 UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Humanitarian emergencies in Africa received two-thirds of all CERF grants in 2011, totalling $284 million, followed by emergencies in Asia and the Pacific, which received slightly more than one-fifth of CERF funding.   

Top 10 recipients of CERF Funds in 2011

The top 10 recipient countries in 2011 were allocated $266 million, or 62 per cent of all CERF funds. Since 2006, Ethiopia, the Republic of Sudan and Sri Lanka have been among the top 10 recipients of funding each year. All but three of the 10 countries (Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire and the newly independent State of South Sudan) were among the highest recipients in 2010. With the exception of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, all the top 10 CERF recipients in 2011 are located in Africa.

Responding to drought and food insecurity in the Horn of Africa

2011 bore witness to the worst drought in over a half a century in the Horn of Africa, affecting 13 million people, mostly women and children, across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The drought and ensuing hunger crisis required some $2.4 billion from the humanitarian community to respond to extensive needs across the region. Heeding the early warning signs of the impending crisis, in February 2011, Humanitarian Country Teams in the region prioritized $35 million in CERF underfunded emergency allocations for drought-related interventions. At the height of the crisis in the second half of the year, another $92 million was provided through CERF’s rapid response window. During the course of 2011, CERF allocated $128 million to cover 5 per cent of humanitarian requirements for the Horn of Africa. In 2012, the humanitarian community, with the support of the Fund, continues to respond to the impact of the drought.

The scale and severity of the drought and food crisis in Somalia created the largest emergency of 2011. CERF quickly surpassed the usual maximum allocation of $30 million for one emergency by giving $53 million for relief work in Somalia, making the country the largest recipient in 2011. The Fund helped support an estimated 4 million people in Somalia, including 1 million children under age 5. In addition, CERF allocated $46 million to humanitarian partners in Ethiopia and $23 million to relief work in Kenya. Besides suffering the impact of drought and food insecurity themselves, both countries received thousands of Somali refugees each day over a period of several months. Five UN agencies in Djibouti were also allocated $6 million to fund drought-related relief projects that benefited more than 130,000 people.

The food sector received $38 million, the largest proportion of CERF funds, with the largest allocation - $17 million - going to Ethiopia. Of the $34 million in grants provided for nutrition in the Horn, $16 million or 47 per cent was given to humanitarian organizations in Somalia. Across the Horn, 16 health projects amounting to $13.5 million were funded by CERF. Water and sanitation projects received $8 million. Some $9 million was given to provide multisectoral assistance to refugees and IDPs, with the largest project allocation of $5 million given to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to assist Somali refugees in Ethiopia in September 2011. CERF also funded two UNHCR projects amounting to $4 million for shelter and non-food items in Somalia and Ethiopia.

Due to the significant funding allocated to drought response in the Horn of Africa, a review of CERF’s support will be undertaken in 2012 as part of the regular country reviews under the Performance and Accountability Framework (PAF). The review will include missions to four countries: Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Drought crisis in the Sahel

In response to the looming food crisis in the Sahel, affecting some 10 million people across eight countries, CERF allocated $6 million in November for the most vulnerable 300,000 people facing severe food shortages in Niger. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received $2 million to treat 45,000 children under age 5 with severe acute malnutrition, while a $700,000 grant to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) helped more than 60,000 vulnerable herders feed their livestock, helping to minimize animal deaths and ensure milk production for children. In January 2012, Mauritania received $4 million and Chad $6 million.

Rapid Response Grants

More than a quarter of a billion dollars, or $282 million of CERF funds, was allocated from the rapid response window in 2011. Humanitarian operations in Africa were given 66 per cent of funds, followed by Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries in the Horn of Africa received $83 million in rapid response grants in 2011. Humanitarian crises in the Middle East significantly increased the number of rapid response grants, from $2 million in 2010 to $22 million in 2011, the highest allocation ever of overall funding from CERF to the region.

Outside the Horn of Africa, the three biggest recipients from the rapid response window were the Humanitarian Country Teams in Pakistan ($22 million), Sudan ($18 million) and Côte d’Ivoire ($16 million). The top 10 recipients of rapid response funds accounted for $187 million, nearly two-thirds of all rapid response allocations to 39 countries in 2011, reflecting a slight decline in the proportion of rapid response grant allocations to the top 10 countries in 2010 (75 per cent) and 2009 (69 per cent).


Spotlight on CERF Responses to New Crises in the Middle East

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Smaller emergencies also received CERF rapid response funding. After an earthquake in Bhutan affected more than 75,000 people, $2 million was given to UN agencies to address the shelter, clean water, and sanitation requirements of the most vulnerable, and ensure continuity of schooling for 40,000 children. As people in Côte d’Ivoire fled post-election violence, CERF provided $16.3 million in response to the crisis, and a further $1.5 million for emergency refugee assistance in neighbouring Benin, Togo and Guinea.

Underfunded Emergencies

Approximately one-third of CERF allocations were made through the underfunded window in 2011. CERF has a policy of “front loading” underfunded grants - that is, making the bulk of its allocations at the beginning of the year - so that UN agencies can respond quickly and efficiently to ongoing humanitarian emergencies.

Some 33 million people were targeted by CERF underfunded emergency grants in 2011, when CERF disbursed the highest amount since inception through the underfunded emergencies window. Over $143 million was disbursed to 185 UN and IOM projects in 20 countries and territories with unmet needs. Ethiopia received the largest amount ($22 million) from the underfunded window in 2011, followed by Somalia and South Sudan ($15 million). Three countries stand out as consistently receiving underfunded grants each year since 2006, with cumulative amounts totalling $74 million (Ethiopia), $43 million (Chad), and $34 million (Kenya).

The Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) allocated $84 million to UN agencies and IOM in 15 countries during CERF’s first underfunded round. The allocations supported 112 emergency projects in seven countries with Consolidated Appeals, Flash Appeals and other comparable action plans, and in eight countries without appeals. The largest grants went to Somalia ($15 million) and Ethiopia ($11 million). The first round of funding supported a wide range of communities in need; from conflict-affected families in Colombia to vulnerable refugee women and girls in Burundi.

For the first time, CERF provided humanitarian agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and Iran with funds through the underfunded window. Since the Iraq War ended in 1980s, Iran has received influxes of refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq, and more than a million Afghan and 50,000 Iraqi refugees are living in the country. An underfunded grant of $2 million was given to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Iran to provide education, food and health services for 34,000 Afghan and Iraqi refugees, and more than $1 million was given to UNHCR to ensure 100,000 refugees received life-saving medical assistance.

In oPt, CERF provided $4 million to fill critical gaps in assistance to the most vulnerable communities in Area C of the West Bank, particularly Bedouin and herding communities. Support included multisectoral interventions to provide essential services, strengthen the resilience of these communities, and mitigate the use of negative coping mechanisms such as the sale of livestock. Agencies also received funding for projects to address priority food, health, water and sanitation requirements in Gaza. More than 100,000 people benefited from CERF assistance in oPt.

During the second underfunded round, completed in September, the ERC approved close to $60 million in grants for 73 humanitarian projects in 10 countries. Newly independent South Sudan was a first-time recipient and benefited from the largest allocation ($12 million) to provide urgent assistance to the thousands of people returning to their homes from Sudan.