Donors today pledged a total of $358 million in contributions to the United Nations-managed humanitarian fund created five years ago to ensure rapid and reliable assistance for people affected by conflict and natural disasters.
Fifty-nine Member States, several private sector firms and a Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO) made pledges in New York at the replenishment conference of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“In these tough economic times this is a significant success for the CERF, and of course over the coming year we will continue to raise funds for this Fund,” Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and head of OCHA, told reporters on the sidelines of the pledging conference.
“Such support for the CERF helps us quickly reach people caught up in crisis, when they most need assistance,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the conference today that CERF helped bring equity to humanitarian response by making resources available even to the least publicized humanitarian emergencies.
“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,” said Mr. Ban, urging donors to give generously to replenish the Fund with the $450 million needed for 2011.
Contributions at today’s conference brought the total amount raised for the global emergency fund to more than $2 billion since it was established by the General Assembly in 2005.
Since 2006, a total of 124 Member States and Observers – almost two-thirds of all members of the General Assembly – have made contributions to the CERF. A 2006 resolution of the General Assembly specifies that the CERF should be funded at $500 million per year, of which $50 million is a revolving loan fund.
“The Central Emergency Response Fund is one of the world’s leading tools for disaster response. It is fast. It is effective. Most importantly, it saves lives,” said the Secretary-General.
Five new donors stepped up to the plate at today’s pledging session – Kyrgyzstan, the Gambia, Costa Rica, the Regional Government of Flanders, and the Turkish NGO Kimse Yok Mu.
Several long-standing donors also announced significant increases in their contributions, including Sweden, with the largest increase of over $10 million, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Finland, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, and Singapore.
The top 10 donors account for 90 per cent of the funding for the CERF. They are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Australia.
Contributions from the private sector this year increased significantly, mainly because of the outpouring of solidarity following disasters in Haiti and Pakistan. Private sector donors have contributed $6.8 million since CERF’s inception.
This year, private sector donors, including corporations and individuals, contributed almost $4.4 million, almost double the total amount received in the past four years combined.
Since 2006, CERF has committed more than $1.8 billion to humanitarian partners in 78 countries and the occupied Palestinian territory. Five countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia – account for approximately one-third of all CERF allocations.
Meanwhile, OCHA and Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading post and logistics service provider, today renewed their successful partnership, started in 2005, for another three years.
The partnership enables Deutsche Post DHL to assist authorities in disaster-affected countries and the humanitarian community with the handling and storing of relief cargo at airports.
OCHA benefits from the logistics and warehousing expertise of Deutsche Post DHL, a service that the UN would not be able to maintain on their own all year long. The cooperation has also enabled the “Disaster Response Teams” of Deutsche Post DHL to integrate into humanitarian relief operations, benefiting from the UN’s strong links with other parts of the international community responding to difficult disaster situations.