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Every dollar invested in CERF translates into stories of hope and survival - CERF 2016 Annual Report

28 Sep 2017
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In 2016, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) embarked on its second decade of bringing urgent aid to the people who need it most – wherever and whenever crises strike. Established  as  “a  fund  for  all,  by  all”  in  2005,  CERF  continued to be one of the fastest enablers of live-saving humanitarian action around the world. The fund allocated $439 million to the UN and its partners on the front lines – at times, within hours of an emergency hitting the country.

More  than  half  of  CERF’s  total  funding  in  2016  –  $289  million  –  allowed  humanitarian  partners  to  jump-start  or  scale  up  urgent  aid  immediately  in  new  or  rapidly  deteriorating emergencies. The fund also targeted more than six million people in dire need in some of the most silent and neglected emergencies, including in the Lake Chad Basin and central and eastern Africa.

In 2016, CERF responded to historic levels of need  and  joined  the  world  community in adapting to the growing challenges   in   the   humanitarian   landscape.  At  the  start  of  the year,  the  global humanitarian appeal required some $20.1  billion  to  provide  life-saving  humanitarian  assistance  to  over  87.6  million  people  across  37  countries, most of which are in conflict.

Since the fund’s launch in 2006, crises have  grown  more  severe,  protracted  and complex. The forces that drive them increasingly overlap and amplify each other. The consequences are profound: in 2016, the world community saved, protected and supported more people than  in  any  previous  twelve-month  period  since  the  United  Nations  was  founded in 1945.

In  the  course  of  the  year,  CERF's  funding   enabled   the   UN   and   humanitarian partners to respond to three “mega-crises”: in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.  These  emergencies  were  so  great  in  scale  and  impact  that  they  were prioritized for the fastest, most comprehensive  assistance.  Their  impact stretched across borders and engulfed regions, as refugees seeking safety  fled  into  neighbouring  and  distant countries alike. Displacement   crises   dominated   the  year’s  humanitarian  picture.  The number  of  people  forced  from  their  homes  by  armed  conflict,  natural  disasters  and  political  instability  reached  a  record  high  of  more  than  65 million – a level not seen since the Second  World  War.  Nearly  half  were  children,  and  more  than  half  were  displaced within their own countries. The  trend  is  growing.  In  2015  and  2016,  almost  70  per  cent  of  CERF’s  funding – totalling about $600 million – was allocated to operations focusing on  displaced  people  and  their  host  communities.

Natural  disasters  –  from  earthquakes  and storms to famine and floods – have been central to CERF’s work from the fund’s  earliest  days.  2016  saw  them  gain in power and scope. Hurricanes, droughts and other forms of extreme weather underscored concerns about climate change’s potential to intensify dangerous conditions.

No disaster had greater reach than the El Niño phenomenon, which brought drought  and  flooding  to  countries from Asia and Africa to Latin America and the Pacific Islands. CERF was an early  leader  in  the  global  response  to  El  Niño,  making  allocations  from  early  2015  –  a  move  that  signalled  the  need  for  urgent  humanitarian  action  ahead  of  the  emergency’s  most  destructive  phase.

"Today  the  humanitarian  landscape  in  which  CERF operates has changed dramatically since it started work in 2006", said former ERC O'Brien in his foreword. "The scale of humanitarian deprivation is greater than at any time since the United Nations was founded. It is the common responsibility of all Member States to ensure that CERF is sufficiently resourced in order to fulfil its mandate and respond to ever-growing needs. Every dollar invested in CERF is directly translated into stories of hope and survival for people who depend on this global “first aid” to stay alive and safe for a better chance tomorrow."