UN chief calls for $1 billion donor contributions for Nigeria, others

Berlin, Germany - November 04: Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugees of UNHCR, attends a press conference in german foreign office on November 04, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)
Berlin, Germany - November 04: Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugees of UNHCR, attends a press conference in german foreign office on November 04, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for one billion dollars donor contributions to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to fund life-saving works in Nigeria and other countries.

Mr. Guterres said at a pledging conference in New York that over the past 12 years, CERF has been at the forefront of humanitarian response.

CERF is a pool of funding that supports critical relief operations in crises around the world as humanitarian needs have increased from $5.2 billion in 2005 to over $24 billion today.

The UN chief thanked the 126 Member States and Observers, and the other donors who have generously contributed to the fund since its creation in 2005.

“CERF is without question one of our most important tools to reach people quickly and save lives,” the UN chief added.

This year, CERF, managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has funded life-saving work, allocating nearly 130 million dollars to help prevent famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

The fund also supported relief responses in other places, including for Palestine refugees in Gaza, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean.

Mr. Guterres then announced a CERF allocation of 100 million dollars to meet critical needs in nine underfunded emergencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, Philippines, Eritrea, Haiti and Pakistan.

Protracted conflict and the impact of natural disasters, compounded by structural fragility and chronic vulnerability, meant that more people than ever before survive on the brink of disaster, he said.

“In 2018, protracted crises are likely to continue, while the impact of climate change is likely to grow and intensify.

“There is no sign of a let-up in humanitarian needs,” the UN chief said, noting that this was why the General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2016 calling for an expansion of CERF’s annual funding target from 450 million dollars to one billion dollars.

According to him, the global humanitarian funding gap stands at 11 billion dollars as of Nov. 30 and humanitarian response plans are funded at an average of just 60 per cent.

The Secretary-General stressed that one billion dollars CERF would help to bolster contingency financing.

“One billion dollar is an ambitious but achievable goal,” he said adding, “a strong United Nations needs a strong CERF.” (NAN)


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