Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, TD, today announced a contribution of €10 million to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a global humanitarian fund that assists people trapped in humanitarian crises.
At the same time, Minister Brophy pledged €3.2 million towards the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Speaking about Ireland’s contribution, the Minister said:
“In 2020, OCHA stepped up to the extraordinary challenge of coordinating the global humanitarian response to COVID-19. Effective coordination meant that the global response was fast and effective—delivering life-saving humanitarian aid and protection to over 98 million people. The CERF became a beacon of solidarity and a lifeline to millions of vulnerable people, particularly women and girls.
“As the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 deepens in developing countries, humanitarian needs continue to grow. The UN estimates that in 2021 over 237 million people across 56 countries are in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance. The role of OCHA and the CERF has never been so important. I am therefore delighted to announce our joint contribution of €13.2 million for 2021.”
Through a network of 30 country offices and five regional hubs, OCHA coordinates humanitarian action to ensure crisis-affected people receive the assistance and protection they need. The result is a global humanitarian response that works in the most severe humanitarian crises, targets the most vulnerable people, and prioritises the most pressing needs. OCHA also works tirelessly to secure safe access to conflict-affected and hard-to-reach areas.
OCHA manages the CERF, which responds to sudden onset and deteriorating emergencies, as well as underfunded situations. In 2020, it disbursed over half a billion dollars to 45 humanitarian crises around the globe. This supported life-saving support in the areas of health, emergency food distributions, shelter, water and sanitation, and education.
Minister Brophy added:
“OCHA and the CERF are the backbone of humanitarian responses across the globe. Already in 2021 OCHA has coordinated the response of the humanitarian community to escalating violence in Ethiopia, Gaza, and Mozambique, as well as the volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In the first five months of this year, the CERF has allocated almost $210 million to 18 humanitarian crises, including Afghanistan, Fiji, Somalia, and South Sudan. Ireland is very proud of its long-standing support to OCHA and the CERF.”
10 June 2021
Notes to Editors:
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates the UN-led global humanitarian response. It was established in 1991 by UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182. Its mandate also includes advocacy on humanitarian crises and the management of humanitarian pooled funds, including the CERF. The head of OCHA is the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and is the principal advisor to the UN Secretary-General on humanitarian issues.
- The latest update of OCHA’s Global Humanitarian Overview estimates that 237 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021—an increase of over 40% in just one year. This includes 56 countries affected by humanitarian crises and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. OCHA’s latest annual report (2019) is available here.
- Ireland has a multi-annual funding agreement (2019-2021) with OCHA that provides for a minimum annual contribution of €2.9 million. Ireland also provides funding to the UN’s country-based pooled funds, which are managed by OCHA. In 2020, Ireland provided €30.4 million to UN country-based pooled funds.
- Ireland engages with OCHA at headquarters as a member of the OCHA Donor Support Group, through our Permanent Missions to the UN in New York and Geneva, and through Missions in countries where OCHA operates.
- The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was established in 2006 to rapidly release funds to new, deteriorating, or underfunded humanitarian crises. Donor countries and other contributors pool their funds in the CERF, which then allocates money to UN agencies. These agencies often further sub‑grant to non-governmental implementing partners, driving humanitarian response at the local level.
- The CERF aims to channel funds to the affected country within 72 hours of a crisis occurring. It also supports underfunded crises, such as those in the Central African Republic, Burundi, or Chad, which may not receive media attention but where there are ongoing dire needs.
- In 2020, CERF grants totaling over €700 million helped humanitarian partners deliver life‑saving assistance across 47 countries. It also provided innovative funding to prevent famine in the Horn of Africa. Approximately 53 per cent of people targeted with CERF funding are women and girls, and close to 55 per cent are children under age 18.
- The CERF was and continues to be central to the response to the COIVD-19 pandemic. To date, over €200 million has been allocated to agencies to respond to the impact of the pandemic. As well as supporting health, this funding also responds to the severe socio-economic consequences of COVID-19.
- The most recent CERF annual report is available here.
- Ireland has contributed to the Fund every year since its inception. It is the eighth largest donor over the CERF’s lifetime and was the 11th largest donor in 2020. Ireland has a multi-annual agreement in place (2019-2021) that commits to providing €10 million per annum.
- The CERF aligns strongly with Ireland’s commitment to provide principled, predictable, flexible, and timely funding to the best-placed partners. It also supports Ireland’s priority of reducing humanitarian need through its innovative work in the areas of forecasting need and anticipatory action—responding early to predictable crises to protect lives and dignity.