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UN’s Global Central Emergency Response Fund releases $45 million to the world’s most neglected crises

29 Aug 2017
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Credit: OCHA/G.Connell

The United Nations humanitarian chief released US$45 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to four neglected emergencies, where more than 21 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance: Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan. The funds will sustain and scale up critical aid operations by humanitarian partners in these countries, where life-saving needs are alarmingly high but funding is critically low.

“This funding is a lifeline for millions of people who struggle in crises away from the headlines. Focusing largely on longstanding conflict-related crises, this allocation will address the most urgent needs of affected people. CERF funding allows donor contributions to go further, reaching those who need our help the most,” says UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mr. Stephen O’Brien. “I thank all donors to CERF that made this possible.”

A large portion of these funds will reach people affected by displacement – one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges in today’s world. The funds will enable humanitarian partners to provide critical health care, food assistance, access to clean water and sanitation and other types of humanitarian aid. However, this funding addresses only a small portion of the urgent humanitarian needs in the countries.

With more than 142 million people who need humanitarian aid, a larger and more robust CERF is critical so that aid reaches those who need it the most. To this end, the United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the expansion of CERF’s annual funding target from $450 million to $1 billion by 2018. “The spotlight on underfunded emergencies is unique to the mandate of CERF, enabling urgent response to where the needs are greatest and not to where the noise is loudest. A bigger CERF is critical to address our common goal to leave no one behind. I urge your continuous support,” O’Brien says.

The annual high-level pledging event in December 2017 will be a milestone towards CERF’s new funding target and reinforce the critical role the Fund plays in meeting humanitarian challenges, including those in neglected crises.
Since 2006, donor contributions to CERF have enabled the UN agencies, funds and programmes, and their implementing partners to provide over $4.7 billion in life-saving assistance, of which $1.6 billion has been allocated to underfunded emergencies. Twice a year, CERF allocates one-third of its funds through the Underfunded Emergencies window. On average, more than half of CERF-funded humanitarian action addresses the needs of women and girls.