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CERF Handbook

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1. Using the CERF Handbook

The Handbook is a reference tool to find quick answers on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) as well as a guide to applying for and maximizing the impact of CERF funds.

The CERF Handbook describes CERF as a Humanitarian Financing tool and the activities involved in all parts of the CERF process, from coordinated prioritization to applying for CERF funds and reporting.

You will also find explanations of what is meant by using CERF strategically, and the context specific relevance of the CERF Life-Saving Criteria in different situations.

Target audience

The Handbook is particularly relevant for those involved in any part of the CERF cycle at the country level and at headquarters:

• Resident Coordinators/Humanitarian Coordinators (RC/HC), prioritizing needs and activities for consolidated CERF applications, endorsing and submitting proposals within the applications, and submitting timely consolidated CERF reports;

• The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) who inform on and analyse humanitarian needs and funding gaps, and make recommendations for CERF support the RC/HC;

• The UN Country Team (UNCT), and sectors (in countries that have neither an HC, clusters or an HCT);1 • Representatives of UN agencies as primary CERF recipients and their implementing partners;

• Representatives of the double-hatted agencies/organizations who are also designated as sector/cluster leads at country level;

• Cluster Coordinators;

• OCHA Country Office staff and OCHA Regional Office staff providing guidance and support to in-country leadership and coordination mechanisms in the prioritization of needs and the related projects; facilitating inter-cluster needs analysis; guiding the CERF application process or coordinating and consolidating the reporting components;

• UN agency CERF Focal Points at headquarters and other interested UN staff;

• OCHA headquarters staff supporting field processes.
Though these are the expected primary users of the Handbook, other parties can also access the Handbook to seek answers to queries regarding CERF.

Intention of the Handbook

The Handbook is a reference designed to provide a broad overview and understanding of what CERF is and how it works, and to point users in the right direction to navigate the CERF process. You are likely to find consulting the CERF Handbook useful when:

• You are part of a HCT or UNCT preparing to recommend that the RC/HC makes an application for CERF Rapid Response funds;

• You are already involved in a CERF application process or supporting its development (Rapid Response or Underfunded Emergencies funding window), as OCHA staff, UN agency staff, NGO staff, or staff in the office of the RC/HC;

• You have a role in monitoring and reporting on the use of CERF funds;

• You are new to the CERF process and want to understand how it works and the actions that are required.
You may start anywhere in the Handbook using the Table of Contents as a guide to the topics or questions you most need to review or through digital search of key words.
UN and CERF policy and guidance documents are referenced as sources for the information and for further details you may need. Links to policies, guidelines and procedures, and templates and forms are provided throughout the Handbook, and in a compendium (►► Annex).

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