Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos: Briefing on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) at the 2014 High-Level Conference on CERF, 17 December 2014

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I would like to begin the plenary session with a brief overview of CERF’s support in 2014. You will find background documents in your folders.

So far this year, I have approved more than $450 million in CERF funding to help humanitarian partners deliver life-saving assistance in 44 countries.

Some $280 million, or 62 per cent of that amount, has been provided through the Rapid Response Window and $170 million, or 38 per cent, was allocated through CERF’s Underfunded Emergencies Window.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the Secretary-General pointed out in his remarks, today, humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels. These are truly challenging times for all of us.

In 2014, the CERF Secretariat enhanced its efforts to make sure that CERF resources supported the most vulnerable, that humanitarian response is coordinated, and is focused on those who have been worst-affected by crises.

To do this, we work very closely with Humanitarian Coordinators and humanitarian country teams to help them to maximize the impact of CERF funding and prioritize the most life-saving humanitarian actions.

And with more crises spilling across national borders, we have encouraged country teams to coordinate their applications, to reinforce regional planning and priorities.

Let me give a few examples.

I have allocated more than $177 million – or 39 per cent of CERF allocations – to two of the four IASC-designated Level 3 crises: South Sudan and the Central African Republic. These funds also support aid operations in neighbouring countries.

As you saw in the film, violence and displacement in South Sudan have been compounded by food insecurity and malnutrition. To make matters worse, the end of the rainy season has led to more fighting, further displacement inside South Sudan, and more people seeking refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. This year, $115.7 million from CERF went to aid agencies in South Sudan and neighbouring countries to provide urgent assistance for displaced communities.

In the Central African Republic, almost the entire population has been affected by the ongoing conflict, including 430,000 people who are internally displaced and 419,000 who have fled to Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. Ensuring that UN agencies and their partners can deliver vital protection and assistance has become increasingly difficult. I allocated $61.6 million to help agencies operate in CAR and bordering countries.

In the early stages of West Africa’s Ebola crisis in April, I approved CERF funds to UN agencies to provide health services to affected families. Since then, more than $15 million from CERF has been allocated for treatment and prevention programmes, food assistance and logistical operations in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

CERF funding is based on need. So I allocated $170 million during two rounds of funding for underfunded emergencies: crises that are no longer in the media headlines but where needs remain great.

In the first round, I allocated more than $95 million to sustain emergency aid operations in Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Haiti, Mali, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

During the second round, I allocated $75 million to help relief agencies address the combined regional consequences of violent conflict, mass displacement of people and deepening food insecurity in 11 countries across the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions.

The highest amount, $20 million, went to Somalia where over three million people need humanitarian assistance and livelihoods support because of drought, floods, continued conflict and soaring food prices. When one considers the magnitude of the crisis in Somalia, it is hard to believe that the country is no longer front-page news. The Somalia appeal is less than half-funded.

CERF has also been a vital instrument in assisting millions of people affected by crises in other parts of the world.

For example, CERF helped ensure that critical aid reached people affected by floods in Bolivia, Burundi and the Solomon Islands, and was used to treat polio and help displaced families in Iraq. Funds were also used to assist people who fled insecurity in Nigeria to settle in Niger, and communities internally displaced by violence in north-western Pakistan.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have seen the impact that the CERF has had in helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people from Sudan to Mali, from Afghanistan to Haiti.

And CERF is always trying to do more. To ensure that the Fund is able to keep pace with the evolving global humanitarian context, I have commissioned a study to look at the role of CERF and its funding targets. We need to ensure that CERF continues to be effective and continues to serve the needs of the most vulnerable.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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