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Focus on humanitarian crises – UN Emergency Relief Coordinator visits Berlin 

refugee camp in Bangladesh

refugee camp in Bangladesh, © Vincent Tremeau

04.06.2019 - Article

Germany and the UN are close partners in the field of humanitarian assistance. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock agree that humanitarian crises around the world can only be resolved by working together. 

Greater need for humanitarian aid than ever before 

According to the UN, over 140 million people in 54 countries – more than ever before – need humanitarian aid this year. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met Mark Lowcock, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in Berlin today (4 June) to discuss the main humanitarian crises around the world. Germany is the second-largest bilateral humanitarian donor in the world. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a key partner for Germany in the humanitarian system.
The talks between Maas and Lowcock focused on Germany’s engagement in the UN Security Council and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), as well as on current humanitarian crises. Lowcock also met Members of the German Bundestag and leading representatives of German humanitarian organisations. During these meetings, he paid tribute to Germany’s role in international humanitarian aid.

Forward-looking humanitarian financing as a priority

In order to be able to keep up as much as possible with constantly growing humanitarian need, Germany and other donors want the humanitarian system to be further developed and made more efficient and effective. It is becoming increasingly important to identify and anticipate humanitarian need as soon as possible. Ideally, forward-looking humanitarian financing and aid can help people even before a crisis situation – such as drought, the outbreak of an epidemic, or the escalation of violence – occurs. This is the most effective way to save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity.
Along with OCHA, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Start Network (an international NGO network) and other donors, Germany is doing its utmost to further this approach of tackling humanitarian crises at an early stage.

Background information: United Nations humanitarian aid

OCHA works closely with the various UN aid organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs. It also manages the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which provides resources for early, life-saving intervention in crisis situations and support in underfunded crises. Following Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in spring 2019, CERF funding was used to help people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.In addition, OCHA manages Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) run locally by humanitarian organisations in 18 crisis areas around the world. Germany also provides support to the CBPF set up for Ukraine in 2019.
In 2018, Germany was the second-largest donor both to the CERF and the CBPFs.

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