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Focus on forgotten crises: 125 million US dollars from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Humanitarian assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Humanitarian assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, © UN OCHA/Angelique Rime

12.04.2019 - Article

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, the Niger and Chad – many crises are no longer in the focus of global attention. The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is providing 125 million US dollars for aid measures in forgotten crises.   

The humanitarian crisis in Syria has dominated the headlines for years – the need for aid is enormous. However, humanitarian crises are also taking place in other regions of the world, often outside public attention. So-called “forgotten crises” are often protracted crises that are accompanied by a great need for humanitarian aid. For example, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Niger and Chad is not in the public eye.

This lack of attention is making itself felt in the form of fewer donations and relief supplies being made available. But even if a crisis is no longer in the public eye, those in need often still depend on life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Support for the most forgotten crises

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provides financial relief in humanitarian crises. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has now announced that 125 million US dollars will be made available for humanitarian assistance in 13 forgotten crises. These funds are to be used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, the Niger and Chad, among other countries. 

This is the largest disbursement of funds in the history of the CERF to date. This record amount illustrates the dimension of the worldwide humanitarian need – especially in “forgotten” and therefore underfunded crises.

Germany as the second-largest donor to CERF

Germany has been the second-largest donor to CERF since 2017 and supports this instrument as an effective tool for meeting humanitarian needs in a targeted and coordinated manner. In 2018, Germany contributed 95 million euros to CERF, or almost 20 percent of global CERF payments.

By supporting CERF, Germany is also underscoring its commitment to multilateralism. CERF was created as a fund “for all, by all”. All UN member states can contribute to it, and they are all entitled to receive support via UN organisations from the Fund in the event of a humanitarian emergency. CERF collects both large and small contributions that are essential for people in need. With its contribution, Germany is supporting CERF’s objectives and is calling on other countries to also do their part.

One third of the budget for forgotten crises

Around one third of CERF’s budget is earmarked for forgotten crises. Aid measures supported with these funds include the provision of basic life-saving services (such as health care, water and food supply and the provision of emergency shelters) for people in need of protection. 
Established in 2006, CERF is an efficient tool for promoting timely humanitarian action and mobilising humanitarian assistance for people in ongoing, forgotten and underfunded crises – in order to save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering.

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