With global humanitarian needs at all-time high, top UN officials urge stepped-up support for emergency fund

(New York, 9 December 2022): With humanitarian needs reaching unprecedented levels, top United Nations officials today spotlighted the critical role of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in supporting the least-resourced emergencies and responding rapidly to crises at its annual pledging event.

“CERF is a United Nations success story,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at today’s event. “In crises around the world, CERF gives people a lifeline of hope.”

For 2023, 39 donors today announced contributions of US$409 million for CERF, falling just short of the $467.7 million pledged at last year’s event.

Additional funding is anticipated during 2023, with several donors announcing today that pledges are forthcoming.

So far this year, CERF has allocated more than $700 million to support millions of people who need urgent assistance in some 40 countries. This included kick-starting operations in Ukraine the same day it was invaded by Russia, as well as rapidly responding to weather-related emergencies, including in Cuba, which was pummeled by Hurricane Ian in September, and in Pakistan, which experienced devasting floods and landslides that same month.

In 2022, CERF also provided $200 million to address worsening food insecurity in the most-affected countries, as well as $250 million towards critically underfunded humanitarian operations in 23 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. Ahead of projected climate-related shocks, CERF helped to prevent suffering and preserve livelihoods in places such as Nepal, before the country experienced peak flooding.

The recently released Global Humanitarian Overview reveals that 339 million people will need emergency assistance in 2023, the highest number ever recorded. This is 65 million more people than in 2022 – a 25 per cent increase.

“We all face difficult economic times,” said the Secretary-General at today’s event. “But the most vulnerable people are hit hardest. CERF is the tried and tested way to help them.” CERF has an annual funding target of $1 billion, as agreed by Member States, but the resources received are nowhere near that level.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, thanked donors for their generosity, noting that the high level of humanitarian needs outstrip the resources available. “Next year must be the year of solidarity,” he stressed at the closing of today’s pledging event.

Since its inception 16 years ago, CERF has helped hundreds of millions of people with more than $8 billion in more than 110 countries and territories.

Panelists at today’s event included Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto; Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar; Somalia’s Special Envoy for Drought Response and Humanitarian Affairs, Abdirahman Andishakur Warsame; and Suhaila Noori, Executive Director of the Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society of Afghanistan.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs