73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Ivo Brandau

73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
01:00 PM — 02:30 PM
Conference Room 1, UN Headquarters
New York

CERF will hold its first United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side-event On Wednesday 26 September 2018, at the 73rd session of the UNGA.

The event will highlight CERF’s unique role in response to drought and famine related emergencies and showcase the fund’s effectiveness, efficiency and results. The session will also advance discussions around improved early action allocations from CERF.

The event will be webcast live at 13:00 via http://webtv.un.org/

UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, will open the event and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, will moderate a panel of distinguished guests:

  • H.E. Mr. Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany
  • H.E. Mr. Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Mauritania Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
  • H.E. Mr. Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia
  • H.E. Ms. Margot Wallström, Sweden Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • H.E. Mr. Nikolai Astrup, Norway Minister of International Development
  • H.E. Mrs. Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy, United Arab Emirates Minister of State

The event will showcase several personal stories throughout, each focused on a unique angle following CERF’s engagement in West Africa's Sahel earlier this year. From Halima and her community rebuilding their lives after conflict, to Fatima and Hawa helping each other through drought and malnutrition, they demonstrate the very tangible lives behind the huge scale of CERF’s impact.

Halima’s Story

Halima was 15 years old when she was taken during a Boko Haram raid on the island of Kangalom in 2015. She was forced to marry and to carry out a suicide attack in which she almost lost her life. 

Meanwhile, right across the Lake Chad Basin – a crisis was unfolding as violent conflict killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, destroying livelihoods and causing entire village communities to flee for their lives. Everything was lost.

“The explosion took my legs and almost killed me”

In 2017, when it was safe, CERF helped the people of Kangalom return home and rebuild their community. We’ve helped villagers revive livelihoods, like fishing and weaving. We’ve set up healthcare centres, provided food and clean water. And we’ve helped communities reconcile with each other.

Halima was welcomed back and is determined to help build a better future. She still feels the pain of what happened – but things are getting better.

Fatima & Hawa’s Story

Fatima and Hawa grew up together in a small village on the outskirts of Mao in eastern Chad. They’ve always helped each other, especially during difficult times. So when their youngest children fell ill, they made their way together to the nutrition centre in Mao.

“What I like most is that we always help each other.”

Drought had devastated their region again, and Fatima and Hawa didn’t have enough food for their families. Malnutrition rates were soaring, with 50 new cases arriving at the Mao clinic every week.

Fatima and Hawa’s children were given the highly nutritious food and life-saving antibiotics they so desperately needed – and they are on their way to recovery. But with 1.6 million children at risk of life-threatening malnutrition across the Sahel region, CERF has been working fast to save lives.

CERF funded health centers and trained health workers to meet increasing needs, and provided urgent medical and nutrition supplies to help more children – before it was too late.