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UN humanitarian chief releases $25M in CERF funding to IOM for NGO COVID-19 response

23 Jun 2020


Mural paintings with COVID-19 messaging by the Haitian artist Hamson Elysee at a border post in Haiti. Credit: IOM

The UN’s Humanitarian Chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, today released US$25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support front-line non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) life-saving health and water and sanitation responses to COVID-19 in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Haiti, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan. 

This multi-country allocation will be channelled to NGOs at a country level and help address the most pressing humanitarian needs based on the in-country priorities in health (including mental health and psychosocial support), and water and sanitation outlined in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19. Focus will be given to gender issues, including gender-based violence, and the needs of people living with disabilities. 

Mark Lowcock, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said:

“As we fight the spread of COVID-19 in countries already facing humanitarian crises, the work of front-line responders is more important than ever. Because of them, people who desperately need clean drinking water, health care and sanitation – the basics you need to fight the virus – are getting them, wherever they are.  

“This allocation from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund will help NGOs in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Haiti, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan do that work. It lets them access humanitarian funding in the same way UN agencies do, which will help them deliver swift, cost-effective and life-saving humanitarian response operations.” 

IOM’s Director General, António Vitorino, welcomed the announcement.

“Our strong partnership with OCHA and CERF allows us to further support NGOs who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis around the world,” he said. “This flexible funding strengthens efforts to work hand in hand with non-governmental organizations who are critical for an effective humanitarian response.”

Distribution of IOM hand-washing facilities to a community centre for children and youth living on the streets in Ombeda locality, Omdurman-Khartoum State, Sudan, during a COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign. Credit: IOM/Yasir Elbakri 

Today’s allocation builds on ongoing support to the COVID-19 response through CERF and the Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs). Together, CERF and CBPF funds have allocated $248 million to a broad range of humanitarian organizations, enabling them to launch urgent projects against the virus in over 45 countries. 

Since its creation, CERF has provided humanitarian assistance totalling $6.5 billion to millions of people across more than 100 countries and territories. This would not have been possible without generous and consistent donor support.