High-level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Last updated: 12/13/2013 // This statement was held by Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen.

Under-Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Central Emergency Response Fund was established to ensure that the UN can respond rapidly to disasters. The response from CERF only two days after the typhoon Hayian in the Philippines is a demonstration of the relevance of the fund. This is just one recent example of the added value of the CERF.

As a general appreciation of the fund, Norway allocates around 12 % of our annual humanitarian budget through CERF, which constitutes 15 % of the total fund.

CERF has demonstrated its strengths by enabling fast delivery of humanitarian assistance to people affected by severe crises.

CERF has acted as a guarantor to crisis responses that are underfunded due to lack of international attention.

CERF has been an instrument for better coordinated response, particularly important in major crises.

In 2013, CERF allocated 471 million USD to 45 countries and territories. It was instrumental in responding to the humanitarian disaster in the Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic and – as mentioned - to the Philippines.

In the Philippines, the Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos took a firm leadership along with the Government. An action plan was released in a short time and CERF funds were disbursed only few days after the “Level 3 crisis” was declared.

CERF is normally not the largest contributor, but always among the first providers of resources to a crisis. Its ability to quickly disburse funds and kick start life-saving actions is unique. The fund has a catalytic effect on fundraising and increases the involvement of national and local authorities in crises response.

Norway believes that CERF should continue to focus on emergency response, but linkages with early action and resilience programming should at the same time be strengthened. CERF is playing a small, yet significant, role in facilitating resilience within a specific emergency response by supporting early action activities that meet the CERF’s life-saving criteria. This is important and should be promoted.

We are concerned that disbursement of CERF funds from humanitarian agencies to their implementing partners is not done quickly enough.  Norway will continue to request the humanitarian agencies where we participate in the governing boards to further speed up disbursements to implementing partners and to involve them in the preparation for CERF requests.

Greater humanitarian needs will further challenge CERF.

CERF now counts 124 of 193 Member States and Observers as supporters, as well as the private sector. This is good, but we have concerns of CERF’s heavy reliance on its top donors. We encourage a continued outreach to, and dialogue with, potential new partners.  And we encourage existing donors to increase their contributions. Our ambition should be to make the 450 million dollar target the norm rather than the goal.

A decrease in resources could affect the funds abilities to respond to the rising needs of crisis-affected countries. We therefore strongly believe that more countries could and should contribute more.

We strongly support the ERC’s resource mobilization efforts, including leveraging new partnership opportunities in the private sector. There is a need to need to explore new and inventive ways to increase future donations..


CERF, now in its seventh year, has lived up to our expectations. Lives have been saved. Humanitarian action has improved. Norway will continue to support this crucial instrument of humanitarian relief.

Thank you.

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