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Donors pledge US$467 million for UN Emergency Fund

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(New York, 8 December 2021) – Thirty-nine donors today announced record pledges of more than $467 million at a high-level event for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for 2022. Several donors announced top-ups for 2021, bringing overall funding this year to CERF to $610 million.

This year’s pledge of $467.7 million is the highest amount committed to CERF in a pledging event compared to the $371.8 million pledged one year ago for 2021, and surpassing the previous record of $438.5 million pledged for 2019 at the event in 2018.

In his remarks at the event, which also marked CERF’s fifteenth anniversary, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the life-saving fund as a proven success story and a spark of hope in a difficult world.

“CERF is fast and flexible,” he said. “I know from personal experience that it is one of the most effective ways to get help to people in crises. CERF responds within hours so that humanitarian organizations can swing into action as soon as emergencies strike. CERF is principled, impartial and independent. The help it provides is driven by need alone.”

In 2020, CERF helped provide assistance to more than 69 million people, most of them women and girls. This included health care to 42 million people, food assistance to 16 million people, water and sanitation to 12 million people, and nutrition support to 4 million people in emergencies worldwide.

To help stave off looming famine in early 2021, CERF disbursed $80 million to Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, protecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

In response to the upheaval in Afghanistan, CERF allocated over $90 million to scale up the humanitarian response, including $45 million to prevent a collapse of the health-care system.

This year, CERF has released $58 million to Ethiopia at critical moments to help save lives due to the conflict in the north, and to protect livelihoods threatened by drought through funding for early response and anticipatory activities.

Secretary-General Guterres thanked donors for their generosity to CERF over the years and called for more robust commitments and increased funding. With more resources, CERF can rise to the challenges people face as a result of new and prolonged conflicts, the climate crisis and disease.

As of today, CERF has provided $553 million in life-saving assistance this year for millions of people in 34 countries. This is the second-highest annual CERF disbursement, surpassed only by the record in 2020 of $848 million.

However, it remains well below the $1 billion target agreed by Member States in 2016.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said CERF remained a lifeline for people caught up in the crises that do not attract sufficient donor support.

In 2021, CERF provided $135 million to 12 underfunded and neglected crises, ensuring lifesaving assistance to an estimated 9.7 million people.

“It also funded four critical areas that are consistently under-resourced: programmes serving women and girls, people living with disabilities, emergency education and protection services,” said Mr. Griffiths.

Panellists at the pledging event included Burkina Faso’s Minister of Women, National Solidarity, Family and Humanitarian Action, Hélène Marie Laurence Ilboudo Marchal; Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt; Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Franz Fayot; and His Excellency Teodoro Locsin, Jr., the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. There were also statements from Member States from the floor.

Over the last 15 years, CERF has released $7.5 billion to save lives and protect people in 112 countries.

For further information, please contact:
In Geneva: Jens Laerke, laerke@un.org, +41 79 472 9750
In New York: Ann Weru, weru@un.org, +1 917 495 9090

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