The Government of Catalonia approved a contribution of 600,000 euros to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This is double the figure initially announcedby the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, in December last year in the framework of the donors’ conference of this UN's emergency fund. This increased contribution is possible thanks to a 2 million euro increase in the humanitarian action budget, from 4 million to 6 million euros in the Catalan Government’s 2023 budget. With this contribution, Catalonia strengthens its commitment to improve its capacity to react and adapt to humanitarian emergencies.
This is the Catalan Government’s sixth contribution to the CERF: since 2018, and through the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, Catalonia has made annual contributions of 250,000 euros in 2018 and 290,000 euros in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. The pledge of 600,000 euros for 2023 brings the total contributed to this United Nations fund by the Government of Catalonia to 2 million euros.
Among other emergencies, this year’s contributions to the CERF will go towards alleviating the consequences of the devastating earthquake that occurred in early February in parts of Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan, for which the Catalan Government has already activated an appeal for grants for action on the ground. The resolution of this call and the interventions to be funded will be made public in the coming weeks. This year, CERF will also channel funds to support populations such as those in Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion and in Yemen, which is currently facing one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world and where more than 21 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2023.
A fast, flexible response
CERF is a humanitarian fund integrated into the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), the agency that coordinates humanitarian action on a global scale. The Catalan Government’s contribution to CERF is a way of organising the response to emergencies through funds that have multiple donors. The CERF is based on voluntary donations from public administrations and private actors, which are distributed periodically, guaranteeing a rapid, flexible and person-based response in humanitarian emergencies. The fund prioritises responses that reduce loss of life, reinforcing the response required during critical moments and strengthening key elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises.
Since its creation in 2006 under the slogan “A fund for all, by all”, CERF has channelled almost 7 billion euros in assistance to millions of people in more than 100 countries and territories. According to its latest annual report, CERF leveraged almost 500 million euros from its donors in 40 countries in 2021, the second-highest figure in the Fund’s history. This made it possible to provide 51.5 million people worldwide with humanitarian assistance and protection. The Government of Catalonia was one of only three regional donors to make financial contributions, along with the Basque and Flemish governments and 54 states.