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$100M In Emergency Funds Set Aside For Food Crisis

UN relief chief sets aside $100 million in emergency funds for food crisis

19 May 2008 - The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator has decided to reserve $100 million from the world body's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to address immediate issues stemming from the food crisis triggered by the recent surge in global food prices.

John Holmes, who also serves as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that these funds will be used for life-saving activities in the hardest-hit sectors, including food, agriculture, health, nutrition and logistics.

"Since its inception in 2006, CERF has shown that it is a successful humanitarian funding mechanism that ensures that aid is delivered in an effective, fast and predictable way," UN spokesperson Michele Montas said today at a press briefing in New York.

Since the start of the year, the Fund - which is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - has already earmarked nearly $66 million for food interventions by UN agencies, compared to $37 million during the same period last year.

The CERF was approved by the General Assembly in December 2005, and was created to speed up relief operations for emergencies, make funds available quickly after a disaster and finance underfunded emergencies. Its funds are also made available to address the existing imbalance in global aid distribution which results in millions of people in so-called neglected or forgotten crises remaining in need. Since its inception, it has disbursed nearly $800 million.

It is evident that CERF will need to be replenished, Ms. Montas said, given the demands posed by food-related emergencies as well as multiple crises and disasters around the world.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Holmes are appealing to donors to make additional contributions to the Fund, beyond the $425 million already pledged for this year.


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