From the firm belief of the State of Kuwait of the importance of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), it doubled its annual share from USD 500,000 to USD one million, at the annual CERF High-level Conference, held here late on Wednesday.
At the ECOSOC Chamber, Kuwait Diplomatic Attache Lolwa Al-Rasheed stressed that the contribution comes for the purpose of strengthening its cooperation with the Fund, coupled with its desire to support the multilateral humanitarian response and meet the emergency needs, as well as recognizing the pivotal role of the UN, its specialized agencies and funds in the area of humanitarian assistance and emergency relief.
During her speech, Al-Rasheed recalled the statement of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, during the UN's celebration for his international humanitarian efforts, when he announced doubling the amount of Kuwait's voluntary annual fixed contributions to CERF. Therefore, she said, the State of Kuwait pledges to contribute the amount of USD one million to CERF for the year 2015.
Kuwait follows up intently the preparations currently being undertaken by the United Nations, for the World Humanitarian Summit, which will convene in 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey, she added.
In this regard, "we wish to confirm our support and our active participation in the regional consultations leading up to the Summit, namely, the Middle East and North Africa regional consultations, to be held in Amman - Jordan in March 2015," she said.
Furthermore, Kuwait reiterated its emphasis on the speedy delivery of life-saving emergency relief, which reduces the severity of the hardship and risks facing the affected populations, and is of vital importance of their early recovery, as well as rebuilding their lives expeditiously, Al-Rasheed said.
The Kuwaiti delegation extended its gratitude to the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Undersecretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos for their outstanding work in convening such event.
Al-Rasheed also stressed that the world witnessed an unprecedented increase in conflicts and natural catastrophes, therefore, she said, "it is incumbent upon us to strengthen and reactivate the efforts of international partnership to ensure early relief".
On his part, Ban said the depth and severity of humanitarian crises is rising, due to the effects of climate change, urbanization, population growth and competition for resources. He noted that CERF started in 2006, where some 30 million people were in need of aid, and now that number is more than 100 million.
This year alone, CERF funding has supported people in crisis in 44 countries, from Iraq and Myanmar to Ukraine and Guatemala, he noted.
Amos, whom presided the conference, underscored the impact of the response funding, noting that in "truly challenging times" with humanitarian needs reaching "unprecedented levels," the UN and international community needed to ensure that CERF "continues to be effective and serves the needs of the most vulnerable".
"I have approved more than USD 450 million in CERF funding to help humanitarian partners deliver life-saving assistance in 44 countries," she added. Some USD 280 million, or 62 percent of that amount, has been provided through the Rapid Response Window and USD 170 million, or 38 percent, was allocated through CERF's Underfunded Emergencies Window, she noted.
By the end of the conference, Amos announced the allocation of over USD 400 million for its operations of the year of 2015.
Since its inception in 2006, CERF has allocated over USD 3.6 billion to support lifesaving relief efforts in 88 countries. In 2014, the majority of funding went to South Sudan, Sudan and the Central African Republic.