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United Nations emergency fund helps 31 countries in 2006


January 10, 2007

The United Nations has committed $241 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to more than 328 projects in 31 countries during the first nine months of the Fund?s existence.

Some $174 million was disbursed from the rapid response facility for new and/or rapidly deteriorating emergencies in 24 countries, including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, C?te d?Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Niger, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and Timor-Leste, as well as in the occupied Palestinian territory. An additional $77 million of the funds earmarked for use in redressing imbalances in underfunded emergencies was distributed across 16 countries, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, C?te d?Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

By the end of the year, 52 Member States, Japan?s Hyogo Prefecture and the Disaster Resource Network (an initiative of the World Economic Forum) had pledged nearly $298 million to the CERF for 2006. Member State donors include Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Grenada, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

At the well attended high-level conference in support of the CERF, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 7 December 2006, 49 donors ? including 16 new donors ? pledged $344 million for 2007. First time donors included Algeria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Maldives, Malta, and New Zealand, as well as the non-governmental organization (NGO) Humanity First. The United Nations hopes to receive even more pledges toward the CERF in 2007, and, by 2008, expects to reach the CERF target of $500 million.

Approved by the General Assembly in December 2005 and officially launched on 9 March 2006, the CERF aims to save lives by providing quick initial funding for life-saving assistance and rapid response in sudden onset, rapidly deteriorating, and underfunded emergencies. It is used to help redress the existing imbalance in global aid distribution, as a result of which millions of people in so-called neglected or forgotten crises remain in need, while others benefit from better-funded programmes. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator manages the Fund on behalf of the Secretary-General.

The CERF Advisory Group, which provides periodic policy guidance and expert advice on the use and impact of the CERF, held its second meeting on 12 October 2006 in Geneva. The twelve members of the Advisory Group, who serve in their individual, expert capacities, are Chairperson Marika Fahlen (Sweden), Vice-Chair Barbara Carby (Jamaica), Vice-Chair Sipho George Nene (South Africa), Catherine Bragg (Canada), P.G. Dhar Chakrabarti (India), Ahmed El-Kholei (Egypt), Gregory C. Gottlieb (United States), Jemilah Mahmood (Malaysia), Michael Mosselmans (United Kingdom), Elisabeth Kraakaas Rasmusson (Norway), Park Soo-Gil (Republic of Korea), and Ruud Treffers (Netherlands). Four alternates also serve on the Advisory Group: Tom Arnold (Ireland), Simon Mechale (Ethiopia), Mati Raidma (Estonia), and Ronald J. Waldman (United States).

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