20 Jun 2017
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On 20 June, the CERF secretariat provided a regional briefing to the African Union Permanent Missions in Geneva on the key issues and developments on the use and management of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2017. The briefing was hosted by His Excellency Mr. Boudjemâa Delmi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Algeria.

The Chief of CERF, Ms. Lisa Doughten briefed participants on the achievements and developments of CERF in 2017. Doughten noted that thus far in 2017, CERF continues to be at the forefront of supporting life-saving humanitarian assistance. CERF has in 2017 allocated a total of US$ 265 million, $165 million of which has been allocated through the Rapid Response window and $100 million through the underfunded emergencies window. Allocations have been substantial in contributing to famine prevention and famine responses in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, and in responding to natural disasters in Southern Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Angola. “Thanks to the generosity of its donors, CERF has released $118 million for early action and life-saving operations in Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan making CERF the fifth largest contributing source to prevent famine in these countries”, she stressed. During 2017, CERF has responded to disasters in 17 African Member States.

Ms. Doughten further informed that between January and June 2017, the demand for CERF funding has been so high that CERF has approved more than $40 million more than the historical average for the same six-month time period.

Ms. Doughten also stressed that global humanitarian needs have quadrupled from $5.2 billion in 2006 to over $22 billion in 2016 and informed that the General Assembly in 2016 endorsed a call by the Secretary-General to expand CERF’s annual funding target to $1 billion. She stressed that this is an absolute bare minimum to ensure that the Fund can continue meeting its life-saving mandate effectively and called on the African Member States to help advocate for CERF with donor countries.

Member States subsequently took the floor, including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Algeria, Swaziland and Madagascar that all expressed great appreciation of the support from CERF and reaffirmed the value of CERF as a fast, flexible and strategic tool to promote life-saving assistance. “My country is deeply grateful for the support that we have received from CERF. CERF’s early allocation of funds in response to the drought in Kenya saved many lives in the country’s arid and semi-arid regions” noted Ambassador A. M. Kihurani, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya to the United Nations. Ethiopian Ambassador Negash Kibret followed by stating that “CERF plays a key role in responding to natural and man-made disasters in Ethiopia and Africa in general and Kenya thanks for CERF’s early support for life-saving operations.

In her closing remarks, Doughten emphasized that increasing CERF’s annual funding target to US$ 1 billion, combined with the necessary strategic, functional and operational improvements will help transform the Fund and make it fit for meeting the humanitarian challenges of today and tomorrow.