New York/Geneva, Thursday 30 June 2022
Thanks a lot, Kate. Thank you very much. And thank you to all who joined this meeting. Thank you to the Secretary-General.
I am just reminded by what he was saying about speed of response, we just have all been witnesses of the terrible earthquake in eastern Afghanistan. It was good that the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was able to get a grant out, again, within two days of that happening. And we know that is so important in the response to natural disasters, it has to be quick. So it's a good example of it.
And another example, was back in September, when a major CERF grant helped to keep the health system from the lights going out in the early days of the Taliban rule.
So, I am ad-libbing at the moment. I think these funds are really an important success story. And I say that as somebody who is new to them, you know, I came into United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) about a year ago, and learned all about the resources available and the way in which they were allocated.
And it is rare to have a success story in our world and so it is worth dwelling on. Central Emergency Response Fund, I remember when it was known by different names. CERF has now reached the age of 16, roughly the age of my son, so it is growing steadily, supporting more people every year.
And I want to thank everybody from the donor community who has kept giving so generously to CERF but also as we will discuss in a minute to the pooled funds.
The country-based pooled funds are increasing in number and reach. We now have reached 20 of those funds. And the first as you know, regional fund is up and running for Western and Central Africa. And I have noticed in my travels recently that where there is not a pooled fund, Kenya is an example, we are all the poorer for it.
So these are extremely valuable, uniquely valuable instruments. The two funds, the CERF and pooled funds complement each other. Last year, three out of four CERF allocations were to countries that also have a country-based fund. So they are in tandem together. I am looking forward to hearing from the speakers of the panel, from some of the countries, where the pooled fund has actually been allocated, and how it has worked and how we can do better.
Decisions about where to allocate money from these funds are difficult, of course. Because we are always trying to balance life-saving immediate needs, versus resilience, versus adaptation, versus anticipatory action.
I am very proud of the extraordinary work both of my colleagues with OCHA, but also in the field and our agencies, our humanitarian coordinators, some of whom are with us here today, and how they make those decisions in very difficult circumstances.
Thank you, then also, again, to our donors for this form of flexible, fast instruments.
Allow me to flag a few top lines came from last year:
We scaled up or kick-started those two words, life-saving activities in more than 40 countries last year through these two sets of funds; a combined $1.5 billion from the different funds, thanks to a record level of contributions, thanks to those who gave.
We reached more than 50 million people in this last year. Through the pooled funds, we delivered relief that supported people's health, food security, water sanitation, and hygiene and protection in particular, as we all know, classically the least funded sector in our humanitarian response plans, and thus we can compensate through these funds.
The pooled funds in particular are making a major contribution to building local leadership to make humanitarian action more local. We are meeting here in Geneva these days, on the Grand Bargain. And we know the commitments will be made for the Grand Bargain to make locally-led processes, genuinely leading our efforts.
I'm very glad to say the country-based pooled funds collectively and deliberately channeled $268 million to national and local actors in this last year. That's 27 per cent of the pooled funds target allocations above the 25 per cent target we set ourselves. We have got a long way to go. It is the priority that we, in OCHA, [have] been looking ahead.
Focus remains on women and girls and others with special needs. In Afghanistan, as Ramiz knows, again, he was part of the decision of cash grants to the women-led households. So, families decide for themselves what they need for their survival and well-being. Cash. Of course, a big-ticket issue this last year in the humanitarian design and very important.
In Niger, the regional fund, the new fund supported girls and boys to have a safe place to play, and access to psychosocial support in those grim circumstances they face.
In Venezuela, vulnerable older people, like me, including from indigenous communities, received eye care and basic medical care through a local organization, again, a very targeted and deliberate and vital approach to the distribution of this allocation of money.
So, I'm really proud to be part of this effort. I'm very grateful to all those in this room and all those outsiders who contributed to it. And we need to keep this growing. This the success story. We need to protect it, preserve it, promote it.
Thank you, Kate.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.