Strong and renewed commitment for Central Emergency Response Fund in 2016

Ten years ago, Member States of the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution, A/RES/60/124 and created the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Established in 2005, CERF marked an innovative breakthrough in humanitarian funding as a “fund for all, by all.” It raises and pools funds before the need arises, and provides fast, predictable funding to partners on the frontlines at the onset of a crisis, as well as financing to critically underfunded emergencies.

In commemoration of a decade of life-saving work, CERF hosted a High-Level panel discussion and annual pledging conference for 2016 today that was opened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien. A tenth anniversary report was also launched, The World Helping the World, which reviews the Fund’s successes, and identifies strategic directions for CERF in the future to continue saving lives together.

Each year, through CERF-funded partners, 20 million people receive healthcare, 10 million people receive nourishing food, eight million people receive clean water and sanitation, and one million people receive life-saving shelter.

“The mission of CERF is as relevant as ever, but will require strengthened political and financial backing as it continues to innovate and become an even more robust instrument for good,” said the Secretary-General. “Over the past decade, the Fund has been an essential component of our humanitarian response – and it has enhanced the credibility of the United Nations.”

Donors today pledged almost US$252 million to the CERF at the annual High-Level conference to support critical, life-saving humanitarian operations in 2016. Political commitment remains strong for CERF in spite of growing needs that dwarf the financial resources allocated. The vote of confidence in CERF as an effective humanitarian tool is evidenced in Germany’s multi-year commitment and doubling of their pledge for 2016, and increases in commitments from Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Regional Government of Flanders.

Further announcements of contributions from some of the CERF’s top donors, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and Japan are expected in early 2016 when budget processes are expected to conclude.

“Today’s emergencies are often large, complex and long-lasting. CERF's life-saving work has never been more challenging, or more crucial,” noted USG O’Brien. “Building on its proven track record, CERF is adapting to emerging challenges so that it remains fit for purpose and fit for the future.”

The Secretary-General has convened a High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing and called for the World Humanitarian Summit in May next year to find solutions towards secure, adequate and predictable resources for people in crisis. As a proven and vital investment tool for the UN’s humanitarian response, Member States and Observers called for the inclusion of CERF in these discussions.

“As we wait for the outcomes of these processes, the CERF remains well placed to help address some of the key challenges,” said Mr. Ban. “A strong United Nations requires a strong CERF.”

Since 2006, 125 Member States and Observers, as well as regional authorities, foundations, private and individual donors have supported CERF, contributing more than US$ 4.1 billion that have supported hundreds of millions of people affected by natural disasters, conflicts and complex emergencies in 94 countries and territories around the world.