New York

17 December 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at high-level event marking 10th Anniversary of the Central Emergency Response Fund [as prepared for delivery]

Ten years ago, in December 2005, the General Assembly created the Central Emergency Response Fund, the CERF.

This was a breakthrough in providing fast and predictable funding for early action at times of global crisis.

Over the past decade, the Fund has been an essential component of our humanitarian response – and it has enhanced the credibility of the United Nations.

Among the CERF’s key strengths is its flexibility and speed.

CERF resources are not earmarked for specific countries or crises, but can be deployed quickly wherever needs are greatest.

Whether a crisis is sudden or protracted; whether it is in the news or not, CERF funds are allocated only on the basis of need.

Established as a fund ‘by all, for all’, the CERF embodies the spirit of global solidarity.

Guided by the principles of neutrality and impartiality, the CERF saves lives and protects millions of children, women and men trapped in emergencies.

Every year, CERF has enabled humanitarian partners to provide critical health services to more than 20 million people.

Every year, it has helped feed some 10 million people, provide water and sanitation to 8 million people and bring emergency shelter to more than 1 million people.

And it has helped make us faster.

Within 11 hours of the earthquake in Haiti, trucks were unloading life-saving aid.

Within 48 hours of Nepal’s recent earthquake, people were receiving timely life-saving assistance.

The CERF is also a key supporter of humanitarian response in protracted emergencies.

Since 2011, the CERF has allocated more than $200 million dollars to humanitarian efforts in Syria and neighbouring countries.  

And the CERF continues to deliver in the face of new challenges.

Right now, the Fund is one of the earliest and largest supporters of early response in countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Honduras that are being affected by the El Niño phenomenon, which is one of the strongest in decades.

The world has changed radically over the past decade.

Old challenges have intensified and new ones have emerged.

Sixty million people are now homeless as a result of armed conflict, instability and persecution.

More than 125 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2016.

The financial needs are five times greater than a decade ago.

Despite the generosity of donors, the gap between humanitarian needs and the resources available to meet them is growing every year.

In view of this, I have set two processes in motion.

My High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing will soon recommend ways to transform funding so we can provide secure, adequate and predictable resources for people in crisis.

Second, humanitarian financing will be a priority at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May next year.

As we wait for the outcomes of these processes, the CERF remains well-placed to help address some of the key challenges that have already been identified, including the call for greater collaboration between aid agencies. 

2015 has been a momentous year.

The international community has taken ambitious decisions. 

In Sendai, Governments adopted a roadmap for disaster risk reduction.

In Addis Ababa, they agreed a framework for development financing.

In New York, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Last week in Paris, Governments reached a historic climate agreement.

These commitments will only be meaningful if they reach the poorest and most vulnerable, and bring them into the mainstream of development and social and economic progress.

The heart of the mandate of the CERF is to make sure that no one is left behind. 

It is a vital tool in fulfilling our global promise to the most vulnerable.

To that end, it depends on strong donor support.

I count on the international community to keep the CERF vibrant so that people caught in crisis may regain the path of dignity and opportunity.

Investing in the CERF is investing in life, and in our shared humanity.

I thank you for your continued commitment and support.