Evaluations and studies

Beyond the studies under the Performance and Accountability Framework, CERF conducts and supports a variety of evaluations and studies that promote transparency, accountability and learning. Regular assessments of the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of humanitarian financing serve to provide guidance on CERF’s strategic direction and performance. These include:

  • Formal evaluations mandated by governing bodies, such as the General Assembly; 
  • Studies and reviews commissioned by CERF; 
  • Studies commissioned and conducted by third parties. 

General Assembly-mandated Evaluations

The CERF secretariat has commissioned a number of formal evaluations to assess the fund’s overall performance and value added. These include the General Assembly-mandated two- and five-year evaluations of CERF, and an interim evaluation carried out after the first year of CERF’s operations in 2006.

To ensure credibility, transparency and independence, all evaluations are conducted by external evaluation experts. All evaluations include a formal management response, which addresses recommendations and identifies responsibilities for follow-up action.

  • Two-year Evaluation: As requested by the General Assembly (A/RES/60/124), the Secretary-General commissioned an independent review of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2008, at the end of the second year of operation.
    • Management Response Matrix (MRM): In response to the recommendations presented in the evaluation, an MRM was developed with inputs from a wide-range of stakeholders. The matrix details the response and action to be taken for each recommendation, and serves as a ‘road map’ for the work that needs to be undertaken until the next review of the Fund, planned for 2011.
CER Review Central emergency Response Fund- Two Year Evaluation CER Review Management Response Matrix
  • Five-year Evaluation: : In 2008, the General Assembly requested an evaluation of the CERF’s activities, with results to be presented at the General Assembly’s 65th session.  The evaluation, conducted by Channel Research, encompassed the five-year period of 2006 – 2010 and marked the third evaluation since 2005 to specifically focus on the CERF. 
    • Management Response Plan (MRP):  In response to the recommendations presented in the evaluation, an MRM was developed with inputs from a wide-range of stakeholders.
CER Review Five-year Evaluation of the Central Emergency Response Fund CER Review

Management Response Plan to the CERF Five-Year Evaluation of 2013

CER Review

Central Emergency Response Fund - Interim Review

  • Management Response Matrix: The review presented fifteen recommendations for consideration. A Management Response Matrix was developed in December 2007 and updated in February 2009. 
CER Review

Management Response Matrix 


Studies and reviews commissioned by CERF

  • Studies on added value of a reformed CERF: In a context of increasing humanitarian needs, CERF must ensure that it remains fit for purpose. In this context, and encouraged by some of CERF’s strongest supporters in the donor community and among humanitarian agencies, OCHA commissioned two studies to explore how CERF may expand or adapt to reflect a changing humanitarian reality. The first study examined whether CERF should increase its funding target. The second study reviewed the possibility of using assessed contributions to the UN for an expanded CERF.
CER Review Added Value of a Reformed CERF (2015)                      CER Review

Potential for Assessed Funding for the CERF (2015)

  • Study of CERF and humanitarian donor decision-makingCERF commissioned a study on the link between CERF and donor decision-making to better understand the extent to which funding from either the Rapid Response (RR) or Underfunded Emergencies (UFE) window influences the direct funding of key donors.
CER Review CERF and Humanitarian Donor Decision-Making (2014)
  • Review of the Underfunded Emergency window In 2012, CERF commissioned a research to identify potential alternatives or improved methods to select participating countries for biannual UFE allocations. The main purpose of the study was to review the current methodology used for country selection and identify potential alternative or improved methods.

CER Review

Underfunded Emergencies window (2012)

Studies commissioned by third parties

Following the CERF Advisory Groups recommendations to the UN Secretary-General in December 2011, CERF encouraged independent evaluations and reviews of CERF-funded activities by recipient UN agencies.

  • Evaluation of WFP's use of pooled funds: The WFP Executive Board requested an evaluation of WFP’s use of pooled funds for humanitarian preparedness and response, which included the CERF and country-based pooled funds. Between 2009 and 2013, CERF contributed $825 million to WFP, making WFP the largest CERF recipient. See the evaluation report and other documents on the WFP website and its management response.

CER Review

Evaluation of WFP's use of pooled funds 
  • Review of UNHCR's utilisation of the CERF: In 2014, UNHCR commissioned a study to review the agency's use of CERF funding. Between 2006 and March 2014, CERF contributed almost $400 million to UNHCR.

CER Review

Review of UNHCR's utilisation of the CERF 
  • IOM evaluation of CERF-funded interventions: In 2012, IOM carried out an internal evaluation, under the overall responsibility of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of IOM. CERF funds have supported a highly diversified portfolio of projects within the field of IOM humanitarian interventions and the evaluation is intended to provide a thematic, strategic and operational analysis of IOM’s use of CERF, examining the use of the Fund over the period between June 2006 and June 2012.

CER Review

IOM evaluation of CERF-funded interventions
  • Evaluation of FAO interventions funded by CERF: In 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted an evaluation of CERF-funded projects implemented by FAO from 2006 to 2009. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide feedback and guidance to FAO’s management of operational processes, constraints and projects achievements, to account for the use of CERF funds to the CERF Secretariat, the ERC, donors, governments of countries affected by crises and other stakeholders. 

CER Review

Evaluation of FAO Interventions Funded by CERF 
  • FAO study of the CERF-red locust project: In September 2009, FAO concluded an evaluation of a projectaiming to mitigate the risk of swarms leaving the outbreak areas by strengthening the response capacity in Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique to effectively cope with Red Locust threats. CERF contributed nearly US $2 million to the project.

CER Review

FAO Study of the CERF - Red Locust Project