Today CERF hosted its High-Level pledging conference for 2017. Thirty-three donors pledged almost US$273 million to the Fund to support urgent aid whenever and wherever crises hit.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon opened the conference. “I am proud to have served as UN Secretary-General during much of CERF’s successful first decade,” he said. “A strong United Nations needs a strong CERF.”
Following the Secretary-General’s remarks, a high-level panel, moderated by CNN anchor Jake Tapper, discussed why the funding is needed to enable the CERF to improve the humanitarian community’s ability to aid people affected by conflict and crises, particularly displaced people and host communities. In 2016, the number of forcibly displaced people reached a record high with more than 65 million people displaced. In the past two years, close to 70 per cent of CERF’s funding has been to operations targeting displaced people and the communities hosting them. UNHCR High Commissioner who joined the discussion via video link from Chad illustrated how CERF made a difference to 20,000 families in Niger’s Diffa region affected by Boko Haram violence. “CERF acted as a catalyst”, Grandi explains. “It is an act of trust by the donors in the ability the United Nations and agencies to prioritize in the most neglected situations. CERF is vital and UNHCR supports the expansion of CERF to $1 billion.”
Uganda Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa commended the work of the CERF in terms of prioritization and responding to immediate needs. “Increasing the CERF is commensurate with the tasks faced by the humanitarian community” he acknowledged.
Rosa Malango, UN Resident Coordinator, Designated Official and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda noted that CERF allows the UN to deliver as one and to have a targeted and holistic approach.
When discussing how a $1billion CERF could be better suited to provide support, USG Mr Stephen O’Brien noted that it is the best option for member states to make the biggest difference with their funds. “CERF is fast, flexible, efficient, with incredibly low overheads and in conformity with humanitarian principles, in particular impartiality. CERF supports early action and early intervention has the greatest multiplier effect. A $1 billion dollar CERF would enable an exponential rise of this multiplier effect and allow ministers to be most accountable to the people they represent.”
Ms Ulla Tørnæs, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation emphasized that Denmark is proud to have been a strong supporter of CERF - each and every year. “Denmark wants to incentivize the collective efforts of the UN towards addressing crises. A system-wide humanitarian pooled fund is an excellent tool to do this.”
Following the panel discussion governments and member states announced their pledges to CERF in 2017. Australia, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden were among the donors that announced an increase in contributions from the previous year, while Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and the Belgian Government of Flanders pledged their ongoing support.
This year’s conference was a crucial stepping stone towards the Secretary General’s call for a $1billion annual CERF by 2018. Last week, Member States answered this call for solidarity by adopting the United Nation General Assembly in RES A/71/L.32 in support of a target more in line with the escalating requirements. Since CERF was established in 2006, its annual funding target of $450 million has remained unchanged. During these years, global humanitarian needs have quadrupled and more than 128 million people are in need of assistance today. The CERF secretariat is thanking all its donors for showing strong commitment and support towards this target by 2018 at today’s pledging event and demonstrating their solidarity with people in need.
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