The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is pleased to acknowledge the receipt of seven new contributions totalling $13,868,771.89 as of 1 June. The contributions were made by Armenia ($5,000), Belgium ($2,988,913.90), Finland ($6,726,000), Hungary ($10,000), Israel ($15,000), Switzerland ($4,113,857.99), and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Humanity First ($10,000). New pledges were announced by Austria ($409,836) and Italy ($1,289,482.50) for 2007. OCHA encourages all Member States to turn their pledges into contributions as soon as possible.
Advisory Group's third meeting
During its two-day meeting on 23 and 24 May, the CERF Advisory Group endorsed several recommendations to further improve the capability of the Fund to save lives. In order to ensure its effectiveness as an emergency tool, the Advisory Group stressed that donors must increase support for the CERF to reach its $500 million target by 2008, as recommended by the General Assembly. The Advisory Group also noted the importance of funds being additional to resources currently available for humanitarian programming.
"The CERF has come a long way in a very short time, mobilizing funds from over 70 donors, but more needs to be done to assure that funds are disbursed in a more timely, predictable and equitable manner," said Marika Fahlen, Chairperson of the Advisory Group and Sweden's Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.
As an independent body, the Advisory Group provides periodic policy guidance and expert advice on the use and impact of the CERF. "The Advisory Group has already proved to be an invaluable tool for the evolution of the CERF," said John Holmes, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), who attended the Group's meeting for the first time. Other first-time participants included Moazzam Malik, Head of the Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department of the Department for International Development (DFID) in the United Kingdom, who replaced Michael Mosselmans (United Kingdom) for the remainder of his two-year mandate, and Toril Brekke, Deputy-Head of the International Department of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who will complete Elisabeth Kraakaas Rasmusson's mandate (Norway).
In their Recommendations and Conclusions to the United Nations Secretary-General, the Advisory Group noted that the leadership role of Humanitarian/Resident Coordinators (HC/RC) is critical in improving coordination and prioritization of projects, as well as promoting timeliness and equity in the humanitarian response, and stressed that HC/RCs should receive continued guidance to clarify their role and responsibilities. The experts highlighted the role of both national and international NGOs as important strategic partners, which should play a more active role in programming and strategizing humanitarian response. They also recommended that the ERC, together with participating agencies, explore ways to foster greater NGO engagement. In addition, the Advisory Group underscored the need to finalize the on-going process of refining the CERF's criteria for life-saving to ensure consistency and predictability of allocations to humanitarian responses and to enable increased training at the field level for all humanitarian actors.
The Advisory Group will meet again in the fall.
In May 2007, the ERC approved over $13.5 million in grants from the CERF's rapid response window. Details on each allocation can be found below, or on the CERF web site at http://cerf.un.org.
In Djibouti... During the past decade, frequent droughts and shorter recovery periods have taken a heavy toll on vulnerable populations, including nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists. Drought has evolved into a chronic emergency, leaving an estimated 20% of the population food-insecure and highly vulnerable.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is using a $278,200 CERF allocation to improve treatment of moderate and severe malnutrition at health facilities and at community levels from a coverage of 40% at the end of 2006 to 80% by the close of 2007 for children under five years of age and to reduce the mortality rate due to severe acute malnutrition treated in hospitals to below 5%. The proposal targets some 30,000 malnourished children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases among 106,000 semi-pastoralists, nomads and the rural population around Dikhil and Ali Sabieh. With its CERF grant of $299,910, WHO is acquiring two vehicles to improve the deployment of existing mobile health units in the affected areas.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s project, meanwhile, is working to enhance livestock survival among the drought-stricken nomadic population of the Dorra region. The UN agency is supplying veterinary products to 20,000 beneficiaries chronically affected by food insecurity. With its CERF grant of $445,629, the FAO is also training veterinary personnel on animal health and on herd care and management.
The WFP is using its $551,831 CERF grant to purchase food to continue activities to improve the nutritional status of an estimated 47,750 beneficiaries among the most food-insecure rural populations in the five districts of Djibouti over a period of one month.
In Madagascar... Between December 2006 and April 2007, the island was hit by several cyclones and tropical storms. The flooding has increased the risk of maternal and child mortality due to lack of quality services and waterborne diseases such as cholera. In addition, some 340,000 people require emergency food. In addition to earlier allocations to UN agencies, a 1 million CERF grant has enabled WFP to meet the nutritional needs of almost 150,000 beneficiaries in several northeastern and northwestern regions. With a second allocation of $220,000, WFP has set up a month-long helicopter operation to move food and nonfood relief items and humanitarian staff to isolated areas in Antsohihy and Ambanja districts.
The FAO project, supported by over $200,000 from the CERF, seeks to procure and distribute rice and maize seeds to 16,000 rural households so that agricultural production can resume.
The CERF granted UNICEF $219,000 to ensure that urgent basic water and sanitation needs of the cyclone affected communities in Diana and Sofia regions are met over a three-month period. With an additional $558,000, UNICEF is strengthening the public health response for 75,000 people in 54 communes to improve their access to necessary medicine and other supplies for disease prevention. A third UNICEF allocation of $300,000 is being used to strengthen nutritional screening and treat acute malnutrition in 16 municipalities.
In Somalia... In the country's Central and Southern zone, the cumulative effects of natural disasters, such as drought and flooding, as well as recent violence in which nearly 400,000 people fled the capital of Mogadishu, have led to the severe deterioration of an already precarious humanitarian situation characterized by a widespread outbreak of acute watery diarrhea and malnutrition rates above the emergency level. With a CERF grant of $1.7 million, UNICEF is supplying basic non-food items to the affected population, including blankets, jerry cans and basic household items. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing emergency temporary shelter and non-food relief for 90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) with a $1 million CERF allocation. And a CERF grant of $2.9 million to WFP will allow the UN agency to continue humanitarian air cargo flights to both flood- and conflict-affected areas.
In Sudan... Although May 2007 marked the first anniversary of the Darfur Peace Agreement, insecurity, displacement, and the loss of life and livelihoods continue unabated four years into the Darfur crisis. Targeted attacks against relief agencies forced aid workers to rely almost exclusively on helicopter transport to distribute food and monitor activities. To ensure that the expanded fleet of UN-chartered helicopters can continue its operations, the CERF has allocated a further $3 million to WFP to extend rental contracts for another two months. The cost of operating one helicopter is $250,000 per month.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Rudolph Muller (programmes) (+1-917-367-4116 or email@example.com); or Ms. Shoko Arakaki (contributions) (+1-917-367-3498 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your comments and suggestions on the CERF web site (http://cerf.un.org) and this newsletter are most welcome (email@example.com).
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.