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Ireland pledges €10 million to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund for humanitarian emergencies

Ireland will contribute €10 million to a United Nations fund for rapid and effective response to major humanitarian disasters, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today announced.

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was established in the aftermath of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when the difficulties of responding quickly and effectively to such a huge emergency highlighted the need for a flexible, swift global funding mechanism.

Ireland has been one of its most committed supporters, and this contribution brings the total Irish funding to the fund since its establishment to over €120 million. Over the past hear, the funding has been particularly effective in providing shelter, food and emergency healthcare to families and communities affected by the war in Syria and by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

In announcing the funding, Minister Flanagan said:

“2014 has been a particularly grim year for humanitarian crises. People in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and many other parts of the world have lost everything this year due to conflict or natural disasters. The numbers of people displaced from their homes worldwide is at its highest point since the World War II.

“When major emergencies happen because of a natural disaster or conflict, a quick and coordinated response is essential to save lives. This is why Ireland is such a strong supporter of the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, so that aid can be deployed as quickly as possible to where it is most needed. I am proud that Ireland is among the top ten donors to this fund.”

Highlighting the additional strain the Ebola outbreak has presented globally, Minister Seán Sherlock said:

“The Ebola crisis this year has shown, yet again, that we cannot predict the severity of crises  so it is absolutely necessary to have flexible funding available. I saw myself, when I visited Sierra Leone in September, the vital work done by UN agencies and their NGO partners. I’m pleased that in 2014, the Central Emergency Response Fund has provided over €11 million to the countries affected by Ebola. This complements our own funding and work on the ground through our Embassy in Freetown.

“Over the years since it was established, the CERF has proven a fast and effective means to channel desperately-needed assistance to those who need it most.  It is also used to provide funding to smaller and forgotten crises, which Ireland prioritises, such as South Sudan and Somalia.”
Press Office
26 December 2014

Notes to editors:

• The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a humanitarian fund established by the UN General Assembly in 2006, in response to lessons learned from the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004.

• CERF aims to help relief agencies address the complex and interlinked regional consequences of violent conflict, mass displacement of people and deepening food insecurity.

• In 2014, it has allocated €322 million to 44 countries worldwide.

• Funding is available directly to UN agencies, who may also pass it on NGO partners, if their partners have better access or be able to act more quickly.

• CERF has three objectives: promote early and coordinated action and response to save lives; enhance response to time-crucial requirements based on demonstrable needs; and strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in under-funded crises.