Ladies and gentlemen,
When disaster strikes, time is a question of life or death.
Even the first hours will be crucial!
There will be no time to form a committee or appeal to the public opinion.
This is why we established the Central Emergency Response Fund, snd gave it a mandate of immediate response.
Now, after two years of operation, we know that the CERF is working. And it is working well, as we have seen from the recent independent evaluation.
The CERF has improved predictability and preparedness. It is perceived as politically neutral and thus a legitimate source of funding. This is important also for effectiveness and efficiency.
And thus, the CERF has attracted contributions from a record 94 member states. It is a beacon of global cooperation - a lucid example to follow in this globalized and ever more interdependent world.
Therefore, the message here today that total contributions to the CERF for 2009 again will fall short of the targeted 450 million USD, is of concern to the government of Norway.
The contrast is striking to the enormous amounts made available on very short notice to deal with the failures of the financial sector.
Money doesn’t seem to be a problem when the problem is money.
We wish to see the same resolve when it comes to collectively helping the world’s most vulnerable people. When thousands and tens of thousands loose everything.
We have every reason to believe that humanitarian needs will continue to increase in the years to come.
We therefore encourage those in a position to do so to significantly increase their contributions.
There is still room for improvement of the CERF, such as timely and more consistent NGO access and engagement. We are encouraged by early indications that the Secretariat and the new Advisory Group intend to deliver on the recommendations of the evaluation. This will further enhance the value of the CERF as an asset for the United Nations, including by stimulating yet more humanitarian partnerships.
Against this background, I am pleased to announce that Norway is committed to continue making siginficant and predictable contributions to the Central Emergency Response Fund.
For 2009, our contribution will be NOK 300 million – approximately 42 million US dollars.