Humanitarian Financing - Overview

Following a humanitarian crisis, humanitarian actors in the field can immediately provide life-saving assistance using pooled funds managed by OCHA. There are three types of pooled funds: the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) and Emergency Response Funds (ERFs). While the CERF can cover all countries affected by an emergency, the CHFs and ERFs are country-based pooled funds that respond to specific humanitarian situations in currently 18 countries. [Download Global Overview of 2012 Pooled Funding]
The pooled funds enable humanitarian organizations to provide the most urgently needed assistance following a natural disaster; fill critical gaps in the response in countries with large, on-going humanitarian operations; and provide basic life necessities for people struggling to survive in many of the world's forgotten emergencies. 
Since these funds were created, billions of dollars have been disbursed to help millions of people in dire need of assistance in nearly 85 countries. Funds come from the voluntary contributions of over 126 countries and private-sector donors.
Immediately following a disaster, the Resident or Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) can make a CERF application for funds to cover priority, life-saving projects from UN agencies. In countries where there is an ERF or CHF, the HC can immediately release available funds upon agreed priorities at country level. While NGOs cannot access CERF funds directly, CHFs and ERFs can allocate funds to international and national NGOs. In fact, the majority of ERF and CHF funds are now provided to NGO partners.
Decisions on prioritizing life-saving activities are managed by humanitarian actors on the ground. These priorities are organized into an appeal document and presented to Member States and other partners for funding. Generally there are two types of appeals: Consolidated Appeals developed on an annual basis in countries where there are on-going humanitarian needs; and Flash Appeals developed following a sudden-onset emergency such as a flood or an earthquake. CERF, CHF and ERF funding is recorded against these appeals. All funding information is recorded in the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) database. OCHA coordinates the appeals and manages FTS.
OCHA’s management of pooled funds allows for faster response to humanitarian needs. The appeals ensure coordination of humanitarian action, while the tracking of funding facilitates transparency in how humanitarian funding is provided. OCHA works with Member States and the private sector to mobilize funds for the pooled funds and humanitarian appeals.