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Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) Annual Report 2020

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Executive summary

The Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) enables the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to take rapid and effective action in response to food and agricultural threats and emergencies.

SFERA has three components:

  • a working capital component to advance funds once a resource partner’s commitment is secured toward the immediate procurement of inputs to protect livelihoods, restart agricultural activities or contribute to an immediate response to a crisis;

  • a revolving fund component to support FAO’s involvement in needs assessment and programme development, early establishment and reinforcement of emergency country team capacities, Level 3 emergency1 preparedness and response activities; and

  • a programme component, which pools resources in support of a programme framework for large-scale emergencies or strategically complements ongoing programmes through the Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity (AIRC) window, as well as early actions triggered by corporate early warnings.

From its inception in 2004 through 31 December 2020, SFERA received USD 311.9 million, of which:

  • USD 152.4 million were allocated to large-scale programmes (e.g. locust response, sudden onset disasters, El Niño response, highly pathogenic avian influenza, protracted crises and coronavirus disease 2019;

  • USD 62.6 million were disbursed under the AIRC window;

  • USD 32.9 million were used to set up or reinforce country office emergency response capacities and support needs assessments and programme formulation;

  • USD 13.7 million were allocated to the Level 3 emergencies preparedness and response window; and

  • USD 12.5 million to the anticipatory action window.

Since SFERA’s inception, under its working capital component, USD 472.1 million have been advanced to fund immediate emergency projects, of which USD 59.7 million were advanced over the reporting period. Outstanding advances as at 31 December 2020 amounted to USD 9.7 million.

SFERA’s cash balance as at 31 December 2020 was USD 28.1 million. This relatively low balance reflects the high level of advances made in support of the desert locust control operations, which continue in all affected countries.