Central Emergency Response Fund Fast, Effective, ‘Most Importantly, It Saves Lives’, Says Secretary-General, at Headquarters Replenishment Conference

14 December 2010

Central Emergency Response Fund Fast, Effective, ‘Most Importantly, It Saves Lives’, Says Secretary-General, at Headquarters Replenishment Conference

14 December 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Central Emergency Response Fund Fast, Effective, ‘Most Importantly, It Saves Lives’,

Says Secretary-General, at Headquarters Replenishment Conference


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the replenishment conference for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), in New York, 14 December:

The Central Emergency Response Fund — CERF — is one of the world’s leading tools for disaster response.

It is fast.  It is effective.  And most importantly, it saves lives.

In the five years since its creation by the General Assembly, the CERF has become an established part of the humanitarian architecture, delivering funds strategically in the early hours of crisis, allowing agencies to begin working immediately, and contributing to a more equitable distribution of assistance.

Nearly $1.8 billion has flowed through the Fund to help millions of people in need.

This year alone, United Nations humanitarian teams in 44 countries have used some $400 million in CERF funding.

In Haiti, 12 hours after the devastating earthquake struck, I announced that $10 million would be available from the CERF.  Just three days into the relief effort, an additional $15 million was disbursed.

These funds helped United Nations agencies to provide shelter, clean water, health services and food to thousands of people.

In 2010, the Fund has been an important part of the humanitarian response to nearly every major crisis.

CERF funds — your funds — brought lifesaving assistance to those affected by the worst flooding in Pakistan in over a century.

They delivered food assistance to people in the Sahel, aided young victims of lead poisoning in Nigeria, and protected thousands of acres of crops from swarms of locusts in Georgia and Madagascar.

The CERF also brings equity.  It ensures that we can give all emergencies the attention they need and deserve, including the so-called “neglected crises” that are often under-funded and overshadowed by disasters that get greater media attention.

For example, when support for the health sector in the Central African Republic was facing severe funding shortfalls, the CERF was used to fill the gap.

In Djibouti, where a humanitarian appeal went unheard this year, $2 million from the CERF gave 45,000 people lifesaving food aid, and basic shelter and household supplies to 12,000 refugees.

And in Mongolia, pastoralists hit by a severe blizzard received not just food and shelter, but were helped to replace lost herd animals, so they would not become dependent on aid.

These examples demonstrate that the CERF is doing exactly what it was mandated to do.

The Fund enjoys widespread and generous political and financial support.

Nearly two thirds of Member States contribute — including 10 for the first time this year.

In the wake of the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, we also received millions of dollars from corporations.

And some 10,000 individuals donated a total of more than $600,000, with some contributions as small as $5 sent via text messages from mobile phones.

We value every single one of these contributions, each of these expressions of global solidarity, and we will continue to work hard to justify your support through rigorous and transparent management of these funds.

We are constantly working to improve reporting.  We have begun to implement the CERF Performance and Accountability Framework, and are currently conducting three independent country reviews.

In addition, the independent Five-Year Evaluation of the CERF mandated by the General Assembly is under way.

We will present the findings to the Assembly next year.

The CERF must meet the expectations of Member States.  But most importantly, it must benefit those who suffer most during crises.  That is the true test of the CERF’s accountability.

The Central Emergency Response Fund is a fund by all countries, for all countries.

It is helping us to ensure that those who need our assistance receive it – quickly, effectively and efficiently.

Today, at this replenishment conference, I ask you all to continue to give generously so that we can meet our target of $450 million for the coming year.

Thank you very much for your support.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.