CERF pledging summit falls short of target

The annual high-level conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund. From left to right: Stephen O'Mally, chief of the CERF secretariat, Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, Valerie Amos, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, and David Gressly, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / U.N.

Donors have pledged $384 million for the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund in 2013 — $66 million lower than the fund’s $450 million target.

The pledges were made at a high-level conference held Dec. 11 at the U.N. headquarters in the United States. The total is slightly higher than the $375 million raised for 2012, with donors like Australia, Brazil, Finland and Turkey increasing the amount of their pledges. The gap with the funding target may also be met within next year as some donors make pledges or contribute money outside of the annual conference in New York.

There have been calls, however, for a more robust funding of CERF during the actual pledging conference. The United Kingdom, for instance, noted after the 2011 conference that some donors are lagging not only in support of CERF but on overall efforts to boost coordinated international response.

CERF is one of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs’ three pooled fund mechanisms. It provides quick, targeted support in the immediate aftermath of an emergency as well as injects money into underfunded, “forgotten” crises. Its budget comes from public and private donors and is managed by Valerie Amos, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

This year, CERF has allocated $465 million so far, including more than $303 million disbursed through the rapid response window. The rest was injected into underfunded U.N. consolidated appeals such as those for Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.