PH can get $100M from UN for underfunded or ‘forgotten’ emergencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the 9th ASEAN UN Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017. World leaders are in the Philippines' capital for two days of summits. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Linus ESCANDOR II

The Philippines is among nine countries that can avail of at least $100 million in funding from the United Nations in 2018 for underfunded or “forgotten” emergencies.

The funds will come from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a voluntary fund pool that supports critical relief operations in crises around the world.

During a pledging conference in New York on Dec. 8, UN Secretary General  António Guterres said the CERF would allocate $100 million each for nine countries with “underfunded emergencies.”

Aside from the Philippines, the other countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, Eritrea, Haiti and Pakistan.

Under the grant program, the CERF invites partners to identify projects that could qualify under CERF’s guidelines for underfunded emergencies.

The CERF defines “underfunded emergencies” as crises that cannot be funded sufficiently by governments and appear to have been “forgotten.”

While local nongovernment organizations cannot directly receive funds from the CERF, they are encouraged to get involved in the process because they often serve as implementing partners.

The CERF is replenished every year and Guterres said the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 2016 increasing CERF’s annual funding target from $450 million to $1 billion due to increasing humanitarian needs globally.

Protracted crises from long-running conflicts and the impact of natural disasters are likely to continue in 2018, he said, while the impact of climate change was likely to grow and intensify.

In 2017, CERF reached a record high income of $504 million through additional commitments made by donors, according to the United Nations.

The fund allocated almost $130 million to help prevent famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

The fund also supported relief responses such as those for Palestine refugees in Gaza, for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and those affected by hurricanes “Irma” and “Maria” in the Caribbean.

Created in 2005, the CERF is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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