The United Nations Announces the Creation of a Central Emergency Response Fund to Permit Faster Relief Action After Disasters

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is designed to allow faster responses to disasters. UN agencies and their implementing partners will be able to access the Fund within 72 hours of an emergency being declared, enabling more lives to be saved in the earliest moments of a disaster when people are at most risk. By making early intervention possible, the cost of providing relief will ultimately be lower.

Typically, there is a big time lag between an appeal for funds and the actual transfer of cash by donor governments. The UN Foundation notes that from 2002 to 2005, only 16 percent of funds pledged in response to UN “flash appeals” were provided to the UN within the critical first month of humanitarian emergencies.

CERF was first proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in December 2005, and endorsed by the General Assembly the same month (resolution A/RES/60/124). Building on an existing $50 million revolving facility, the new Fund is to reach a target of $500 million. By 9 March 2006, governments had made available or pledged some $255 million toward that target.

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