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Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the High-Level Event: “The Central Emergency Response Fund: A Fund for All, by All“ - 26 September 2018

26.09.2018 - Press release

Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies, colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Never before in human history have we been better equipped to forecast the future. The digital revolution and science provide us with unprecedented tools to project both, natu-ral disasters and man-made conflicts. Yet, both often seem to catch us off guard.

At the same time, humanitarian needs keep on growing. Only in retrospect we realize that we could have acted earlier.

We need a paradigm shift: From a ‘response-focused’ humanitarian system towards a smarter, ‘forward-looking’ system.

We need to provide assistance before disaster strikes or violence escalates. And we need to adjust our humanitarian financing mechanisms accordingly, making the most cost-efficient use of our limited resources.

Anticipatory action avoids humanitarian suffering, preserves human dignity and reduces the loss of lives. To put it simpler: It is good humanitarian assistance.

Germany is convinced that the Central Emergency Response Fund, should promote the paradigm shift towards early humanitarian action.

Germany congratulates the UN, and OCHA in particular, on championing this develop-ment. You have our full support!


Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year, Germany celebrates fifty years of humanitarian assistance. We came a long way since we started – with one person in charge of a budget of 11 million euros. To-day, we are the world’s second largest donor and the second biggest contributor to CERF, with a budget of around 1.5 billion euros.

However, humanitarian needs still exceed the available resources by far. This is unac-ceptable and it is upon us as donors and responsible international actors to change it.

Germany will, therefore, increase its contribution to CERF - from 75 million euros last year to 90 million euros this year. We see this as a sign of support to the humanitarian system in difficult times. It is also an expression of our appreciation for the outstanding work humanitarians are doing around the world.

We owe it to them that the system still manages to help the most vulnerable – despite the shortfalls in funding. Or as a former Emergency Relief Coordinator once put it: “The humanitarian system might be broke, but it’s not broken”. - We are proud to make it a bit less broke today.


Thank you!



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