A boy stands in front of supplies at a WFP distribution site in Erbil Governorate, Iraq. WFP received $6 million from CERF for its emergency operations in Iraq in 2014. © OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis

A boy stands in front of supplies at a WFP distribution site in Erbil Governorate, Iraq. WFP received $6 million from CERF for its emergency operations in Iraq in 2014. © OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis

Mobilizing Voluntary Contributions to the Central Emergency Response Fund; UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) / December 2013 - December 2014

 

The project grant supported funding for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The fund ensures that CERF, as a strategic financial instrument of donor governments and other, assists the most vulnerable populations suffering from a disaster or conflict.

CERF strives to promote early action and response to reduce loss of life; enhance response to time-critical requirements; and strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises.

Most lives are saved in the immediate aftermath of a crisis, such as a cyclone, an earthquake or a tsunami. The challenge is that mobilizing funds can take time, but humanitarian first responders need money immediately. As time passes, the situation can deteriorate and more lives are lost.

CERF helps to address this challenge through its Rapid Response Window. Rapid-response grants are deployed immediately at the beginning of a crisis, or when a situation rapidly deteriorates, when time is of the essence and it is critical that emergency relief operations get under way quickly. Rapid-response grants can be approved in as little as 48 hours.

CERF provides funding to the world’s most neglected and underfunded crises. When a disaster is front-page news, donors are motivated to help. But when a disaster fades from the headlines, or never makes the headlines, it is much harder to raise funds. The need for help, however, is no less significant.

CERF helps to address this imbalance through its Underfunded Emergencies Window. Twice per year, grants are disbursed for emergencies that have not attracted, or are unlikely to attract, sufficient funding for life-saving activities in time. These underfunded-emergency grants support operations where acute humanitarian needs are far greater than the funding available and enable better coverage of core life-saving activities.

In 2014, there was another sharp rise in demand for humanitarian assistance around the world. Protracted armed conflicts, large-scale displacement of people, chronic vulnerability and natural disasters all contributed to this rise. With $460.8 million in grants, the Fund supported aid agencies with 80 allocations to crises in 45 countries.

CERF made sure the funds went to the right agencies. In fact, CERF grants are allocated to UN programmes, specialized agencies and funds, as well as to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are important partners in the CERF allocation decision-making processes. They receive CERF funding when they carry out work for recipient organizations.