UN Secretary-General strong on support to early humanitarian action at CERF’s first ever UN General Assembly event
On September 26th, 2018, CERF held its first ever United Nations General Assembly event aimed at mobilizing global support for CERF.
UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, opened the event with a heartfelt speech calling for increased support for CERF as a critical way to improve early humanitarian action – even before disasters strike. Member States responded by reaffirming their commitment to CERF, including with new financial pledges.
“What I would like to give is my testimony. There are not many things that work well in the world […] but there is one thing that I can guarantee […] that really works very well, it’s the CERF,” said the Secretary- General. “If we are serious about coordination, and if we want to be serious about effective system-wide priorities and about effectiveness in quick responses and in what is in every speech at the United Nations – leaving no one behind – the sure bet is CERF,” he added.
Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Mark Lowcock, moderated a panel that included 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 and H.E. Ms. Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State for International Cooperation .
The panelists, together with a broad choir of Member States and UN agencies, expressed support for a better-funded CERF, able to deliver more systematic anticipatory funding with a special focus on promoting time critical action before disasters strike based on forecasts and early warning. Wallström highlighted that earlier this summer Sweden signed a multi-year agreement with CERF and noted that she hopes Sweden will inspire other donors to adopt a similar approach.
Awad and Cheikh Ahmed highlighted the critical impact that early funding for Somalia and Mauritania ahead of looming droughts and famine in Eastern Africa and the West African Sahel region. USG Lowcock added that more systematic anticipatory funding from CERF will help cut response times and costs, facilitate better-quality programme design and impact and significantly reduce human suffering.
Several Member States announced additional contributions to CERF for 2018, as well as increased pledges for coming years. Maas said Germany would increase its contribution for 2018 from €75 million to €90 million, making the country CERF’s top donor for 2018. Al-Hashimy announced a tripling of UAE’s contributions for the coming years to $5 million and Denmark’s State Secretary for Development Policy, Mr. Martin Bille Hermann answered the Secretary-General’s call for increased funding to CERF with a 50 per cent annual increase (subject to parliamentary approval) from DKK 100 million to DKK 150 million for 2019 and following years.
Secretary-General Guterres urged Member States to live up to their commitments to support global lifesaving assistance and their call at the General Assembly in 2016 for a doubling of CERF’s annual funding target to $1 billion. He asked Member States to announce strong support to CERF at the upcoming High-Level Pledging Conference in New York, in December 2018, adding that CERF “would be a fantastic instrument for better transparency, for better accountability, for better coordination and would guarantee that Member States’ money is well spent.”
The event showcased several personal stories throughout, each focused on a unique angle following CERF’s engagement in West Africa's Sahel earlier this year, like the story of Fatima and Hawa, who helped each other through drought and malnutrition. They demonstrate the very tangible lives behind the huge scale of CERF’s impact.
To view the full recording of the event via unweb.tv please click here
To view the closing film from the event please click here