Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
People say that time is money. For humanitarians – time is life. The Central Emergency Relief Fund was established to ensure that the UN could respond rapidly to disasters, and today, we can conclude that CERF has become a success. CERF has time and again demonstrated its strengths by enabling fast delivery of humanitarian assistance to people affected by severe crises.
In 2011 CERF was instrumental in responding to the humanitarian disaster at the Horn of Africa, and CERF also responded to several other disasters, including crises outside of the daily light of the media, for example in the Democratic Republic of Congo. CERF’s ability to quickly disburse funds and kick start life saving actions is unique. Norway would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the UN on its progressive efforts to improve the time-critical response to humanitarian crisis.
Despite the persistent financial crises, funding for CERF has continued to increase in 2011 – an astonishing achievement in itself. Norway welcomes the broad donor base of the fund. Especially we welcome increased funds from the private sector.
Increased humanitarian needs will further challenge the debate on increased CERF funds. It is unfortunate that 80 percent of the funding for CERF is provided by a handful of donors. We strongly believe that more countries could and should contribute more. To address this we need to explore new and inventive ways to increase the future donation. We encourage a continued outreach to, and dialogue with, potential new partners, and we also encourage existing donors to increase their contributions. Because we have every reason to believe that humanitarian needs will continue to increase, we should have the ambition to make the 450 million dollar target the norm rather than the goal.
Today I am pleased to announce that Norway is committed to continuing our contributions to various humanitarian pooled funding mechanisms, including the CERF.
For 2012, our main contribution to CERF will be increased to approximately 58 million US dollars (350 million NOK) - up 4,5 million US dollars (25 million NOK) from last year - and be disbursed early in January. On top of this we may also make a second disbursement later next year.
We are also pleased to inform that Norway for 2011 will make an extra end of the year contribution of 10,5 million US dollars (63 million NOK) - bringing Norway’s total contribution to the CERF in 2011 up to 65 million US dollars (388 million NOK).
I thank you.