Central Emergency Response Fund two year evaluation

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 31 Jul 2008

In its resolution 60/124 of December 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations sought to remedy two problems that had bedevilled UN efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance in a timely and effective manner. First, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, mandated by the Assembly to coordinate the international response to humanitarian emergencies, had no resources at his disposal with which to address the immediate needs in a rapid-onset crisis; and secondly, the international response to protracted emergencies seemed often to be dictated more by political considerations than an objective assessment of the needs of the people, and therefore lacked equity and fairness.

Resolution 60/124 sought to address these problems by transforming the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, created in 1991, into the Central Emergency Response Fund, adding to the existing loan facility of US$ 50 million a grant element with an annual target of $450 million.

Detailed arrangements for the management and administration of the CERF, including the provision that two-thirds would be for rapid response and one-third for underfunded emergencies, were described in the Secretary-General's Bulletin of 10 October 2006 (SGB/2006/10.)

In its resolution, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to commission an external independent evaluation of the CERF after the first two years of operation. This study has been produced in fulfilment of that obligation.

Introduction and Background to the CERF

The CERF is managed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator who decides on the allocation of the Fund. He has established a small team of staff as the CERF Secretariat, within the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UN Controller is the financial administrator of the Fund, responsible for receiving and processing contributions, disbursing allocations and producing financial accounts on the use of the Fund. The fund is open to agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system and the IOM. OCHA is not eligible to apply for grants.

As of 22 May 2008, the CERF grant element had received a total of US$ 1.06 billion in contributions, as well as US$ 52 million in unpaid pledges. The total receipts and disbursements, by year and funding window, are shown in the table below.

Funds allocated for rapid response provide an initial injection of resources to kick-start the response to a rapid-onset emergency. Applications are sent in to the ERC through the CERF Secretariat by the Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator in the affected country, after consultations in the humanitarian country team. Funds for underfunded emergencies are allocated according to a process, which identifies countries, or programmes within countries, which are considered to be 'underfunded' and eligible for funding. The loan element of the CERF continues to be used at approximately the same level as previously.

Total receipts (US$) 22/05/08
Disbursements RR (US$) 27/05/08
Disbursements UFE (US$) 27/05/08

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.