CERF briefs Members States on use, management and performance of CERF funds

Andrew Kobylinski

On 30 March, Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), briefed United Nations Permanent Missions, Observers, UN agencies and International Non-Government Organizations on the use and impact of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2015 and 2016. Fifty-four Member States, the European Union, the Holy See, ICRC and 10 agencies attended the briefing. 

“With my arrival ten months ago, I can attest to the absolute importance and criticality of CERF. On average each year, working closely with humanitarian partners in the field, CERF supports the provision of critical health services to at least 20 million people, food assistance for some 10 million, water and sanitation to 8 million and emergency shelter to more than 1 million people,” said Mr. O’Brien in his opening remarks.

Participants were provided with an update on CERF’s funding status, allocations, performance and accountability figures. Key findings from the 2014 Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Reports were also highlighted.

The ERC outlined the Secretary-General’s recommendation, from his report for the World Humanitarian Summit, to increase CERF’s annual funding target from $450 million to $1 billion by 2018 and informed participants that the CERF Advisory Group had recently endorsed this proposal. He called on Member States to also back the proposal and work towards developing sustainable humanitarian financing solutions.

Member States subsequently took the floor and reaffirmed the value of CERF as a fast, flexible and efficient tool to promote life-saving assistance.  In particular, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark expressed support to the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a larger CERF.  Niger, a CERF funding recipient country, reinforced the work of the Fund and encouraged Member States to ensure there are larger funding envelopes available to address the needs of people affected by humanitarian emergencies.  Other issues raised included the importance of diversifying the donor base, interest in innovative finance initiatives for CERF, links to the Grand Bargain and alignment with the World Humanitarian Summit.

In closing, Stephen O’Brien thanked Member States for their overall support and generosity, indicating it was a sign of confidence in the Fund and its activities.  He encouraged their engagement to help achieve this year’s funding target and broaden the support to become a $1 billion fund. “CERF funds are timely, efficient and effective. In emergencies, time lost results in lives lost. CERF funds ensure that humanitarian partners on the ground have access to resources they need when they need it”.

The event was webcast on UN TV. 

The presentation and official event documents can be found on the First 2016 CERF Member States Briefing page.