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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the High Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund

New York, 9 December 2009

Mr. Secretary-General
Ladies and Gentlemen

Five years ago this month, we awoke to the shocking news that a massive tsunami had taken thousands of lives in a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

In the days and weeks that followed, the whole world joined in the efforts of the emergency response to the tsunami and its dire consequences. Generous contributions poured in from countries, rich and poor, from all over the world.  The overwhelming response to the tsunami stands in contrast to the international response to other crises that receive less media attention. For this reason the General Assembly decided nearly a year after the tsunami to create the CERF to:

  • Promote early action and response to save lives;
  • Enhance response to time-crucial requirements based on demonstrable needs;
  • And, strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in under-funded crisis.

In its short lifespan, the Fund has come to be regarded widely as one of the most successful examples of the UN reform of 2005. Some $1.5 billion has been raised, and more importantly, some $1.4 billion spent to help people caught in disaster or conflict. United Nations country teams in more than seventy Member States have received funding for life-saving humanitarian programmes.

Since 2006, some 108 States have contributed to the Fund. Support comes from all regions, and from developing as well as developed countries.  These contributions are the strongest statements of solidarity. It is notable that, in these times of global economic crisis, several new contributors have stepped forward, including from Members States, private corporations and private citizens. I am pleased that the Central Emergency Response Fund has becomes precisely what the Member States of this General Assembly created it to be: a fund by all, for all.

In closing, I would like to encourage all Member States to contribute to the Fund.  If we come close to the goal of $450 million that we have set as the annual target for this Fund, we would have mobilized nearly $2 billion in the Fund’s first 5 years.

Thank you.

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