Monday October 9, 2017
A young boy suffering from malnutrition is held by his mother at a UNICEF-supported Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) in Baidoa, Somalia. Photo: UNICEF/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
The United Nations global emergency response fund has reached its 2017 funding target of $450 million, but much more is required given that the number of people in need of assistance is at a record high.CERF has been at the forefront in responding quickly when crises emerged in 2017, enabling partners to deliver critical health care, food, clean water, sanitation and much more to people who need it the most, especially women and girls caught up in crises.
“Given the many challenges we face today with 145 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, achieving the target set for 2017 provides a much-needed boost in fulfilling our mission to reach the world’s most vulnerable people with timely assistance,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said Monday in a press release, acknowledging the generosity of donors.
“But given the increase in needs brought on by ongoing conflict and natural disasters this year, it is more important than ever that donors enable CERF [Central Emergency Response Fund] to reach its 2018 funding target of $1 billion,” Mr. Lowcock, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
The Fund was among the first to provide resources when more than 20 million people this year were in or imminently close to famine in north-east Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, helping to stave off the worst.
It allocated $145 million to help critically underfunded responses for 14 neglected emergencies around the world, and provided $13 million to enable humanitarians to help tens of thousands of people needing assistance following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, as well as $19 million for urgent help to refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar.
Recognizing that a larger and more robust fund is critical, the UN General Assembly last year endorsed the expansion of CERF’s annual funding target from the current $450 million to $1 billion in 2018.
CERF’s annual high-level pledging event in December 2017 can be an important milestone towards achieving the new funding target.
“For the sake of millions of people who are suffering, I ask all countries to further stretch their generosity,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who added; “A strong United Nations needs a strong, reliable CERF to reach people trapped in crises and to meet the needs of those still left furthest behind.”