[Dateline: New York | Author: OCHA]
If three more Member States contribute to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) at this week’s annual event to be hosted by the Secretary-General, it will mean that half of the General Assembly’s 192 members have pledged to the humanitarian Fund that was created to help victims of sudden-onset disasters and neglected emergencies in a fast, reliable and impartial manner.
The High-level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund, organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), takes place on Thursday, 4 December from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
Since it was established as part of broader UN reform in 2005, some 93 Member States have contributed to the Fund, which is designed to help kick-start humanitarian response and balance funding for crises around the world.
In keeping with its mandate of making humanitarian aid faster and fairer, CERF has disbursed more than $1 billion for life-saving aid in 67 countries, more than one-third of the Member States in the General Assembly.
A recent independent evaluation of CERF’s performance during its first two years concluded that the Fund has succeeded in becoming a valuable and impartial tool for humanitarian action by accelerating response and increasing coverage of needs.
But perhaps the least heralded part of the Fund’s success has been the breadth of support it has received from a range of Member States.
Countries from all regions of the world have given - from Azerbaijan to Ecuador, from Mongolia to Nigeria, and from San Marino to the United Arab Emirates. (A full list is available at the CERF web site.) Some seventeen countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka have both given to and received from the Fund.
Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon will preside over the High-level Conference to encourage Member States to support CERF. Ministers from Australia, India, and Kenya, among other high level representatives from Member States and other humanitarian partners, will attend the conference, which provides an opportunity to review progress and mobilize resources for the Fund. Interpretation will be available in all UN languages.
Considering that the donor base has increased from 52 to 93 in just two and a half years, doubling the Fund’s membership base at this year’s event does not seem out of reach. Any contribution, however modest, can go a long way to help CERF attain its annual funding goal of $450 million. With the number and intensity of natural disasters on the rise and with intractable conflicts continuing to claim lives, supporting CERF is more important than ever.