The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
is a humanitarian funding mechanism established by the United Nations
to enable more timely and reliable assistance to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts. It was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 December 2005 and launched in March 2006.
Following a disaster, the world looks to the UN to lead the international response. The UN relies on donor contributions to undertake relief activities. Contributions, however, can often be unreliable, uneven and late. Early and predictable funding is essential. It prevents situations from spiraling out of control, saving resources and, more importantly, saving lives.
The CERF was created to ensure that funds are available immediately in response to disasters and emergencies. The Fund provides an easy and centralized way to support the UN’s life-saving efforts in humanitarian crises around the world. Whether in response to a headline disaster or a forgotten crisis, the CERF permits the UN to respond rapidly and equitably to save lives.
Since its inception in March 2006, the Fund has provided over US$800 million in assistance, reaching millions of disaster victims in over 60 countries. Recent contributions have helped survivors of the May 2008 earthquake in China and cyclone in Myanmar, as well as victims of the ongoing conflict in Darfur.
Specific allocations from the Fund included:
- In August 2007, the CERF proved vital in allocating funds (US$ 8.7 million) for the response to the 2007 Sudan floods, in response to a request launched by acting United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly on behalf of United Nations agencies in the country.
- In February 2008, in response to a request by Resident Coordinator for Cameroon Sophie de Caen, the CERF allocated US$ 4.7 million to the humanitarian operations in response to the inflow of Chadian refugees into Cameroon, in the aftermath of the 2008 battle of N'Djamena.
- In August 2008, in response to a request by Humanitarian Coordinator for Chad Kingsley Amaning, the CERF allocated US$ 1.2 million to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Chad, to replace non-food items that were stolen or looted during continued warfare in Chad. The local OCHA head of office, Eliane Duthoit, highlighted the impportance of the contribution, but also called on belligerent parties to stop destroying or looting humanitarian supplies.
The CERF is funded by contributions from governments, private businesses, foundations and individuals. The Fund has received over US$1.1 billion in contributions since it began in March 2006. Click here for the latest list of donors.