Norway says “Yes” to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund


“You can rely on our ongoing and continued support”

United Nations New York

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United Nations headquarters in New York, seen from the East River.

 

MARIT FOSSE
Geneva

In New York earlier this December, donor countries gathered in New York for the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund’s annual pledging conference. The Fund was set up in 2005 upon the initiative of Norway and enthusiastically promoted by Jan Egeland, who was at that time the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator.

The CERF, as it came to be known, was formally established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 as the Organization’s global emergency response fund, and it has received substantial contributions from United Nations member states, observers, international organizations, the private sector and other sources. To date, the Fund, whose current annual funding target is $1 billion, has helped hundreds of millions of people with over $8 billion in aid disbursed in more than 110 countries and territories.

Already in 2022, the CERF has allocated more than $700 million to support millions of people in need of urgent assistance in some 40 countries. This included kick-starting operations immediately after the war began in Ukraine, as well as responding to weather-related emergencies, including in Cuba, which was pummeled by Hurricane Ian in September.

Also, this year, the CERF provided $200 million to alleviate worsening food insecurity, 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, the Fund helped to prevent suffering and preserve livelihoods in places such as Nepal, before the country experienced peak flooding.

Since the CERF was established, global funding needs through humanitarian appeals have increased nearly ten-fold – from $5.2 billion in 2006 to assist 32 million people to $51 billion in 2023 to help 224 million people in need.

Since 2005, Norway has been one of the Fund’s most faithful supporters and, as the Norwegian Ambassador said in her statement at the pledging conference, “I am pleased to announce that Norway will contribute 450 million Norwegian Kroner for CERF in 2023. In addition, for 2022 we have topped up the annual contribution of 450 million with another 30 million, landing on 480 million Norwegian Kroner this year. This is about 48 million USD.”

Altogether the different donors promised $409 million for the Central Emergency Response Fund. It is less than what was raised last year – and far short of the $1 billion target humanitarian officials were hoping to hit.

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Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.

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