Migiro spotlights improvements in UN’s response to global emergencies

14 December 2007

The United Nations has made significant strides in the way it responds to emergencies, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today.

Migiro spotlights improvements in UN’s response to global emergencies

In 2005, the world body launched a reform process to ensure that all victims’ needs were met for all emergencies and to bolster accountability.

“Two years on, I think we have made considerable progress in improving the way we work,” Ms. Migiro said in an address in Washington, DC, to InterAction, a coalition of 165 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“In the past, whenever an emergency occurred, the humanitarian community would scramble to find the resources to respond,” she said. “These came too little, too late.”

However, this has been changing, largely due to the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), which was approved by the General Assembly in 2005 to speed up relief operations for emergencies, make funds available quickly after disasters and finance underfunded emergencies.

CERF funds are made available to address the existing imbalance in global aid distribution which results in millions of people in so-called neglected or forgotten crises remaining in need.

“The CERF exemplifies the UN at its most effective, delivering real results on the ground, where and whenever it matters most,” Ms. Migiro stated.

She also cited the Cluster Approach utilized by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee – a partnership between the UN and its humanitarian partners – as bolstering the UN’s ability to respond to emergencies.

The Approach assigns lead agencies to 11 areas of humanitarian activity, including early recovery, health, logistics and protection.

“It helps avoid gaps and duplication in our assistance efforts and promotes a more integrated response,” the Deputy Secretary-General said in her remarks. “And it makes the international humanitarian community a better partner for host Governments.”

However, she urged ongoing efforts to improve the capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies.

“The demands for more timely effective and equitable emergency assistance will only continue to grow due to a combination of factors – the increasingly visible effects of climate change, rapid population growth in vulnerable areas, increasing competition for scarce resources, and the threat of pandemic diseases,” she said.

 

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