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Donors pledge over $400 mn for UN humanitarian fund

Washington, Dec 14 : Donors pledged $404.6 million for the United Nations fund that enables the quick delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to those who need it most around the world, responding to an appeal by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the world body's top relief official.


"The most vulnerable people on Earth depend on your support to enable this work to continue," Mr. Ban said in his opening remarks at the High-level Conference for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

"That is why I ask that you give as much as possible to this important fund. These are uncertain economic times for many, but I urge you to give generously and to give early, so CERF can help as many people as possible in 2014."

The Fund, established by the General Assembly seven years ago, has grown to become one of the largest and most reliable sources of humanitarian funding. Since 2006, it has disbursed more than $3.2 billion to emergencies in 88 countries.

"It has proved itself as one of the most effective and efficient ways to support urgent aid needs," Mr. Ban said, noting that this year alone, CERF funds have kick-started urgent humanitarian operations in Syria, Mali and the Philippines.

In 2013 alone, CERF allocated more than $82 million to support relief efforts in Syria and neighbouring countries, bringing the total since the crisis began in 2011 to more than $135 million.

In the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, CERF provided the first major injection of funds for relief work on the ground. As a result, millions of people received desperately needed food, clean water and medicines.

CERF has also been fulfilling its mandate by providing critical funding for less visible emergencies, added the Secretary-General. "In Haiti, Sudan and Somalia ... in the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Yemen ... wherever people are suffering, CERF offers a lifeline."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which administers the Fund, more than $473 million has been released this year from CERF to enable fast delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to millions of people affected by natural disasters and other crises in 45 countries.

"The Central Emergency Response Fund is a fund by all countries, for all countries," said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos. "It is helping us to ensure that those who need our assistance receive it - quickly, effectively and efficiently."

--IBNS (Posted on 14-12-2013)

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