Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, Opening Statement at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Central Emergency Response Fund, 7 December 2018
UN Headquarters, New York, 7 December 2018
Secretary-General António Guterres, Excellencies and Ministers, distinguished guests,
Thank you for coming. One year ago, we had an excellent fundraising for CERF, and today we’re hoping to do even better. That’s up to all of you.
126 Member States and observers have contributed to the CERF.
This year, we have seen an unprecedented demand.
For the first time ever, the CERF has provided over $500 million to people in crises. That includes the largest grant ever given - to Yemen at beginning of the year.
These funds kickstarted life-saving assistance to people affected by conflict. They maximized resources available to sustain response in underfunded crises. And they supported responses to droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods; and to disease epidemics.
The Secretary-General saw for himself the impact of the CERF, when he and I visited Sulawesi in Indonesia in October, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
In Ethiopia, CERF enabled humanitarians to scale up assistance to people affected by escalating inter-communal violence.
In West Africa’s Sahel region, CERF allocated $30 million to ramp-up relief efforts following an upsurge in need due to acute drought, high food prices and worsening insecurity.
Just 48 hours after the Government of the Democractic Republic of Congo announced an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, CERF allocated nearly $5 billion to help humanitarian partners fight the disease’s spread.
The CERF is the first and fastest, including for forgotten crises. But we can make it better and faster.
I believe that CERF has the potential to play an even more prominent role as an enabler of early response to pandemic emergencies.
And more use of anticipatory funding, as discussed at the UN General Assembly. Early funding reduces response times and costs, supports better-quality programme design, and thereby, reduces suffering.
Last year, we reached the highest funding level for CERF, surpassing half a billion dollars in contributions. This year, I am hopeful that we will exceed this figure, moving us closer to Member States’ commitment of a $1 billion CERF.