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Guterres urges greater support for UN emergency relief fund

He called for more support so it can expand and reach its target of $1 billion.

Speaking at the annual pledging event for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Mr. Guterres said it was a clear UN “success story”.

“Year after year, CERF demonstrates its unique and irreplaceable role by getting funding quickly to people in crisis and this year was no different,” he said, citing its deployments in Sudan in April, and in Gaza in October.

The Central Emergency Response Fund

CERF was established in 2006 to enable rapid and effective humanitarian response to crises worldwide.  

As a pooled fund, it provides timely financial assistance to address the urgent needs of affected populations, emphasizing quick analysis, decision-making, and implementation to save lives and protect vulnerable communities.

Other allocations by the Fund in 2023 included rapid response to earthquakes in Afghanistan, floods in Bangladesh, violence and displacement in Burkina Faso, drought in Djibouti, the crisis in Haiti, and the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye.

CERF for climate action

Mr. Guterres also highlighted that while CERF remains a vital humanitarian force, it also facilitates effective climate action, enabling additional financing directly to address climate-related disasters.

Thanking donors for their support, he urged more to step up.

“We need financial commitments that match the scale of needs. We need to meet the $1bn US dollar funding target agreed seven years ago,” the Secretary-General said.

A ‘for all, by all’ fund

Also speaking at the pledging event, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, who manages CERF on behalf of the Secretary-General, detailed its lifesaving impact, echoing Mr. Guterres’ call for full funding.

“CERF has proven that it is truly the ‘for all, by all’ fund, as envisaged by the General Assembly when it was created back in 2006. It needs to continue to play such a critical role”, he said.

In conclusion, Mr. Griffiths said that the Fund is among the first to act at times of great crisis, providing “that first small gesture of kindness and respect for the people laid down and set down by crisis.”

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