Why is supporting the Central Emergency Response Fund a good humanitarian investment? There are several reasons for this. Let me mention three.
First, CERF is a key mechanism that responds quickly and effectively to humanitarian crises. CERF provided a swift response to the earthquake Syria and Türkie in February, and to the flooding in Somalia now in November.
Coordination is key. We need a coordinated humanitarian response to meet the large needs. The number of people needing food assistance is record high and continues to rise. That is why combatting food insecurity and hunger is a main priority for my government. We are pleased to see that CERF allocated more than 100 million dollars to eight high-risk famine-prone countries early this year.
Second, humanitarian response should be based on needs not visibility. CERF provides much-needed support for underfunded humanitarian crises. CERF has allocated 270 million dollars to underfunded, protracted and neglected crises this year, including to Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Ethiopia.
Armed conflict and climate change are the two most important drivers behind the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. In these circumstances, we must spare no efforts to ensure that the limited financial resources are allocated/used in the best possible manner. We have to work differently.
A third reason to support CERF is that it plays a significant role in advancing innovative approaches like anticipatory action. Anticipatory action must become a preferred option where it is possible to predict a crisis. It is also the way to avoid that a crisis turns into catastrophe. Lives will be saved, people’s dignity will be upheld and the need for humanitarian support will be reduced. And it works best when affected populations themselves are involved.
CERF plays an important role not only in conflict induced emergencies, but also in crisis stemming from climate change. We see the Fund increasingly responding to the humanitarian impacts of climate shocks. We believe a climate account within CERF will provide a good opportunity to channel climate funding to the most vulnerable people affected by climate emergencies.
To conclude, CERF is an effective instrument for delivering rapid, life-saving assistance and protection to people affected by humanitarian crises. This is why Norway has been a strong supporter of CERF from day one. Norway’s multi-year contribution of 45 million USD annually helps CERF act fast and where it is most needed. Today I am pleased to announce a top up of this year’s contribution to CERF of 55 million Norwegian kroner, approximately 5 million US dollars.
Norway is a predictable, long-term supporter of CERF. We encourage other donors, both government and private, to do the same. We also need more donors to CERF. This is something I will follow up with colleagues in the time to come.