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CERF is an absolutely indispensable instrument for us to be able to deliver - UN Secretary-General

26 Sep 2018


Established in 2005 as the UN’s global emergency response fund, CERF pools contributions from donors around the world into a single fund allowing humanitarian responders to deliver life-saving assistance whenever and wherever crises hit. CERF has a US$1 billion annual funding target and is fully unearmarked to ensure funds go to meet the most urgent, life-saving needs.

Its strategic importance is demonstrated by the impact of early CERF funding towards the worst crises - following the warning signs of famine in north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, in response to natural disasters throughout the Caribbean and for the world’s most underfunded crises such as in Afghanistan, Chad and Sudan.

"Nothing is more important from the point of view of the coordination of humanitarian aid than to have a Fund that represents a meaningful volume of the assistance and that allows you to establish system-wide priorities in an effective way.  This is what the CERF can do", said UN Secretary-General today at the Central Emergency Response Fund: A Fund For All by All event. "If we are serious about coordination, if we want to be serious about effective system-wide priorities, and if we want to be serious about effectiveness in quick responses and in what is at the same time in everywhere in every speech at the United Nations – leaving no one behind, the sure bet is the CERF".

Last 5 January, the largest-ever CERF allocation allowed the disbursement of $50 million to rapidly bolster the humanitarian response. Credit: OCHA/G.Clarke

This high-level event comes two years after the General Assembly endorsed doubling CERF’s annual funding target to $1 billion. CERF is the only global emergency fund with the speed, predictability and flexibility to reach millions of people with life-saving aid and protection wherever, whenever a crisis hits.

Since its inception, CERF has been at the forefront of global efforts to respond to humanitarian crises and has proven its ability to support early humanitarian action by allocating funding quickly to address life-saving needs, sometimes within hours of the onset of an emergency. CERF’s role as a first responder to humanitarian need has been and will remain critical as intensifying conflicts and climate change create and exacerbate humanitarian crises. Also, there is an increasing recognition that CERF could help address a critical gap in humanitarian financing by promoting time critical action ahead of imminent shocks based on forecasts and early warning.

“We want to continue to innovate”, said USG Lowcock in his remarks. “We are determined to keep up with the world as it changes, and that will ensure the CERF retains its place at the cusp of effective life-saving assistance. We will not rest on our laurels.”

Photos: WFP/Maria Gallar Price