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Disaster Relief Fund Is Example Of Successful

UN Humanitarian Chief Points To Disaster Relief Fund As Example Of Successful Reform

New York, Oct 12 2006 3:00PM

The landmark United Nations fund set up to jump-start relief operations for natural and man-made disasters and save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to delay offers “living proof” that the world body can reform, the UN’s top humanitarian official said today.

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – which has committed $174 million to more than 250 projects in 26 countries since its launch in March – has ensured there are no longer discussions on why there is not enough money for emergencies, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told a press conference in Geneva.

“The CERF is living proof that the United Nations can reform, is reforming and is getting better,” he said, adding that the Fund has been helped by the comparative lack of emergencies around the world so far this year.

The Fund’s achievements include the supply of food rations to thousands of victims of fighting in Timor-Leste in April, the provision of helicopters in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region to allow aid workers to reach otherwise inaccessible internally displaced persons (IDPs), emergency flood relief in Ethiopia, and projects to fight malaria a΅d cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Mr. Egeland spoke after a meeting of CERF’s advisory group, which reviewed its operations so far and discussed possible funding goals for next year. The group consists of 12 expert members appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Some 52 Member States, a Japanese prefecture and a private disaster resource organization have pledged more than $273 million to the Fund’s grant facility, with almost $267 million already “in the bank.”

CERF, which has a target reserve of $450 million, was created as part of key UN reforms sought by Mr. Annan to ensure swifter responses to humanitarian emergencies, with adequate funds made available within three to four days as opposed to up to four months or more under the previous $50 million fund.

A replenishment conference is scheduled for 7 December at UN Headquarters in New York.

Ends

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