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United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

I informed hon. Members on 9 March of the official launch of the United Nations (UN) Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF is intended to provide UN humanitarian agencies with early funding so that they can respond immediately when a crisis strikes, and to enable them to channel funds to neglected emergencies.

To date, the CERF total stands at $262 million from 42 donors, of which the UK is the largest single contributor with $70 million (£40 million) for this first year of operation. The CERF has made an encouraging start, with $92 million committed to a number of humanitarian crises, the largest allocations of which are going to the Horn of Africa ($25 million); Darfur ($20 million); the Democratic Republic of Congo ($17 million); Chad ($10 million); Niger ($6 million); Cote D'lvoire ($2 million); and Burundi ($2 million).

The UK has a seat on the CERF Advisory Group, which provides the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator with advice on the speed and appropriateness of fund allocations, and examines performance and accountability. The Group had its first meeting on 23 May.

In the light of the CERF's encouraging start, and as part of our ongoing efforts to improve the quality and quantity of the UK's response to humanitarian crises, I am pleased to inform the House that I have approved a further commitment to the CERF of £120 million over the next three years (January 2007 to December 2009), which is conditional on DFID continuing to be satisfied with the results that the UN is achieving with the CERF. We will monitor the performance of the CERF closely to ensure this investment is used to the best effect. I hope that this long-term commitment will encourage other donors to do likewise, thereby strengthening the financial sustainability of the CERF, and we will be actively lobbying key donors to this end.