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Annan Seeks Support For Global Emergency Fund

Annan Seeks More Support So Global Emergency Fund Can Reach $500 Million

New York, Dec 7 2006 1:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to countries and other international donors to continuing funding the world body’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) next year so it reaches its goal of $500 million to provide rapid assistance to those most in need.

Addressing a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York on support for the CERF, which was launched in March this year, Mr. Annan praised its achievements so far noting it has committed $230 million to more than 320 projects in 30 countries, “from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Lebanon to Liberia.” Currently, donors have pledged almost $300 million to the Fund, the UN says.

“Clearly, CERF has shown that it will provide assistance anywhere, and save lives everywhere. It saves lives because it is innovative, and it is flexible. But above all, it succeeds because of strong support from you, its donors,” Mr. Annan told the conference, which included Ministers and representatives from at least 90 Member States.

He said the Fund enabled the UN to “do more, and to do it sooner. And by alleviating suffering before situations spin out of control, it facilitates faster transitions to recovery and rebuilding.”

Highlighting recommendations from a recent UN-panel that credited the CERF with “facilitating quicker, more effective [humanitarian] responses,” he called for it to be fully funded as soon as possible.

Opening the conference, General Assembly Acting President Mirjana Mladineo of Croatia said that the support of both developing and developed nations to the Fund “sent out a strong political signal, underlining the importance of multilateralism, by coming together to assist vulnerable victims of humanitarian crises independent of political and strategic considerations.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, who directs the Fund, also attended the meeting and stressed CERF’s importance as a rapid response mechanism to deal with emergencies.

“I know that the CERF is not a silver bullet. We still need donors to fund the vast majority of needs through traditional channels. However, the CERF is an insurance policy that allows us to jump-start emergency operations immediately.”

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) 54 countries, local governments and private sector groups have contributed to the Fund this year.

Ends

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