United Nations Launches Central Emergency Response Fund Marking Another Milestone in the UN Reform Process

Un Foundation Offers Platform For Individuals, Foundations And Corporations To Support The Fund

Washington, D.C.

March 9, 2006


Megan Rabbitt

One year after United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an improved mechanism for financing international humanitarian response efforts, today the United Nations launched the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help ensure predictable and timely funding to address the humanitarian crises around the world. The Fund was approved by the General Assembly in December of 2005 and marks another milestone in the UN reform process.

Beginning with the effects of the tsunami—which struck in December 2004—the South Asia earthquake, the devastating and record breaking hurricane season, and stretching through the recent Philippine landslide, the world has been reminded of the tremendous destructive power of nature, and the need for international cooperation in support of humanitarian relief. These disasters usually occur with little warning and demand rapid response for emergency relief and recovery efforts. The time lag between the sudden onslaught of a disaster and when resources are raised and received can be deadly. The CERF also allows the UN to respond to humanitarian emergencies that, while no less urgent, receive less media attention and international funding than other crises.

“It is critical that the international community has the appropriate mechanisms to effectively respond to the communities and individuals affected by humanitarian crises,” said UN Foundation President Timothy E, Wirth. “The Central Emergency Response Fund represents an important step in humanitarian reform – allowing the international community to use pre-positioned funds to respond rapidly to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies. The UN Foundation is proud to be a part of this significant effort by providing a mechanism for individuals, foundations, and corporations to support the CERF.”

The upgraded Central Emergency Response Fund will jump start life saving relief operations during the early days and months of an emergency by providing up to $500 million through a combination of grants and loans to UN agencies to address sudden emergencies, rapid deteriorations, and neglected crises. Key elements of the new fund include:

• Funds available within 3-4 days.

• A fund managed by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator in consultation with humanitarian agencies and the relevant Humanitarian Coordinators.

• A 12 member Advisory Group appointed by the Secretary-General.

• An Annual Donor Conference will ensure regular replenishment of the Fund.

In an effort to be transparent and accountable, an Advisory Board will review the management of the CERF, as well as the reporting and the results. Additionally, a CERF website will include financial and expenditure tracking and will provide updates to the public to show how funds are used.

The CERF is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from Governments, the private sector, and individuals. As of today, more than 30 Government donors have already pledged over $200 million. The UN urges more governments, the private sector, and individuals to donate to CERF to eliminate delays in available funding. By eliminating delays, a quick and effective humanitarian response can prevent an emergency from worsening, in turn, lowering the overall cost of humanitarian operations.

To mobilize resources from individuals as well as the private sector, the United Nations Foundation has partnered with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to provide a platform for tax deductible donations in support of the CERF.

To learn how to donate and for more information about the fund, please click here.


The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.