CERF Advisory group supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a $1 billion CERF by 2018

Andrew Kobylinski

On 21 March, the CERF Advisory Group met in New York endorsed the Secretary-General’s call to expand CERF to $1 billion by 2018.  The Group, which meets bi-annually and provides the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Secretary-General and CERF with policy guidance and expert advice, also encouraged all stakeholders and UN Member States to support a larger CERF.

“A larger CERF is important to meet escalating global humanitarian needs. We, the CERF Advisory Group, endorse the Secretary-General’s proposal for a $1 billion CERF, as it will increase the Fund’s scale and impact. However we must ensure that CERF’s focus and scope remains on speed and lifesaving activities” stated Manuel Bessler, Chair of the CERF Advisory Group.

“The CERF Advisory Group is vital to ensuring the fund is effective, has impact and is focused on saving lives. The advice provided by the Group will ensure that CERF can remain relevant and meets the needs of all stakeholders, from donors to the most vulnerable in need of humanitarian assistance”, said UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien. 

During the meeting the Group reconfirmed CERF’s vital role in enabling effective and timely responses to humanitarian crises worldwide. The Fund’s results, operations and impact were reviewed and commended.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the meeting and thanked members for their commitment to CERF. He discussed the recommendation from his Report for the World Humanitarian Summit for a $1 billion CERF and emphasized the importance of the Fund within the UN system. He encouraged Group members to actively advocate for the expansion of the Fund within their humanitarian networks.

Advisory Group members reiterated that a well-resourced CERF is vital to enable timely and predictable lifesaving humanitarian responses worldwide. They emphasized the importance of CERF reaching its annual funding target for 2016 and committed to advocating for CERF to achieve this result.

 “It is great to be involved with a fund like the CERF that is actually delivering results on the ground, and that is genuinely interested in learning and improving performance,” said Jozef H.L.M Andriessen, Advisory Group member from the Netherlands.

The meeting also highlighted the need for strategic communications and advocacy, explored innovative financing solutions, discussed CERF results and examined independent reviews on CERF allocations. Group members also had the opportunity to learn from CERF recipient agencies including UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, FAO and IOM, about their experiences implementing CERF funds. 

“The Advisory Group is a useful and effective platform to discuss CERF’s operations and future. CERF was instrumental in ensuring a coordinated and effective response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As the Head of the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) I saw firsthand how effective CERF funds can be. CERF funding enabled air services to continue and transport medical teams during the most critical time. Reviewing these types of results as well as discussing the future of the fund are key to ensuring CERF remains effective,” remarked Julius Oketta, Advisory Group member from Uganda.

“This Advisory Group provides a platform for frank and open discussion on the issues facing CERF and global humanitarian financing. Members have extensive knowledge and skills, and bring to the table humanitarian experiences form across the world. Global Humanitarian needs are currently exploding and we as the global humanitarian community need to scale up our efforts and coordinate in an effective manner. CERF is currently a successful and efficient model. Increasing it to $1 billion will only strengthen and promote global humanitarian coordination and financing,” stated Eltje Aderhold, Advisory Group member from Germany.

The next meeting will be in October/November. Outcomes and recommendations from this meeting will be issued as an Official United Nations document and published on the CERF Advisory Group page.