High-Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Statement by Director of Humanitarian Affairs in Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Leni Stenseth, to the High-Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), 13 December 2016.

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Secretary-General, Excellencies

Norway is a strong supporter of the CERF. It provides a critical lifeline of support to millions of people affected by humanitarian crisis around the world.

This is more needed than ever. The Global Humanitarian Appeal for 2017 is the largest in the history of the United Nations. 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection worldwide. More than 65 million people have been displaced by conflicts and natural disasters, a large number of them children.

Norway has increased its humanitarian assistance by 50% over the last three years.

The gap between the needs and resources to meet them is widening at an alarming rate, despite increased humanitarian contributions from many countries.  There is an urgent need to find more innovative and effective ways to address increasingly complex challenges such as situations of protracted displacement as discussed this morning.

CERF is at the heart of the global humanitarian response. CERF has repeatedly demonstrated its strengths and added value by providing fast and predictable funding at the onset of an emergency, and a vital lifeline of support for underfunded and protracted crisis. In 2016 CERF has provided critical support to millions of people forced from their homes in South Sudan, the Lake Chad region, Yemen, Iraq and Haiti.

CERF also adds significant value by enabling a more coordinated response at the country-level, particularly through joint needs prioritization and planning.

Mr. Chair,

The consolidated inter-agency humanitarian appeal that was launched early December provides bleak outlook for the humanitarian situation in 2017. Greater humanitarian needs will further challenge CERF in the year ahead.

I would like to emphasize three points.

First, with the number of severely underfunded emergencies and protracted crisis constantly growing, there is a need to consider whether more flexibility is required between the underfunded emergencies and rapid response windows of the CERF.

Second, there is also a need to further explore the role and place of the CERF in situations where stronger linkages between humanitarian and development actors are important, while maintaing CERFs critical life-saving focus.

Third, there is a need to do more to broaden and deepen the financial support of base of the CERF to meet the Secretary-General’s call to increase the annual funding target to 1 billion USD by 2018. The top 10 donors provide almost 90 percent of all the contributions received. This is not sustainable given the scale of the humanitarian needs worldwide. A commitment to CERF is a commitment to the world’s most vulnerable. This is a collective responsibility of all member states.

Norway has been a strong champion of CERF and amongst its biggest contributors for the last ten years.

For 2017, I am pleased to announce that Norway will contribute 380 million Norwegian kroners (approximately 44,8 million USD) to CERF.

Further to this -  and in response to the appeals for end of year ‘top ups’ to close the financing gap -  the Norwegian government yesterday made an additional contribution of 8,5 million Norwegian kroners, bringing our total contribution to CERF for 2016 to 388,5 million Norwegian kroners (approximately 45 million USD).

Thank you.