9 March 2006

Four more Governments Donate to United Nations Emergency Fund

NEW YORK, 8 March (OCHA) -- With the Governments of Nigeria, Kuwait, South Africa and Qatar making pledges to the new Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the number of Governments supporting the Fund has risen to 27.  The Government of Nigeria has pledged $100,000, and the Government of Kuwait has offered $200,000.  South Africa has donated $300,000, and Qatar has made an initial pledge of $5,000.  The new pledges come immediately before the CERF is formally launched on 9 March 2006.  The Fund was approved by the General Assembly in December of 2005 and marks another milestone in the UN reform process.

The 27 Member States that have pledged a total of $196 million to the CERF include the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Finland, France, Greece, Estonia, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Liechtenstein, Grenada, Armenia, Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt, Republic of Korea Iceland, India, Nigeria, Kuwait, South Africa and Qatar.  In addition, a contribution was made by the Disaster Resource Network, as well as by the Prefecture of Hyogo (Japan).  Because the CERF is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) urges more Governments, the private sector and individuals to donate to the CERF to eliminate delays in funding.

The CERF will save lives by providing quick initial funding for life-saving assistance and rapid response in sudden onset emergencies, rapid deteriorations, and neglected emergencies.  It will thereby help rectify the existing imbalance in global aid distribution, as a result of which millions of people in so-called neglected or forgotten crises remain in need, while others benefit from better funded programmes.

For further information, please call:  Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, tel: +1 917 367 5126, mobile: +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, tel: +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, tel: +41 22 917 2653, mobile: +41 79 473 4570.

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