Hon. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda


Thursday, 15th December 2016
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Hon. Sam Kutesa at the CERF Meeting in New York

On 13th December 2016, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) hosted its High-Level pledging conference for 2017. At the invitation of UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Sam Kutesa participated in the high-Level Panel discussion.

A high-level panel discussion was composed to focus on CERF's support to people displaced by conflict and natural disasters. The purpose of the Panel discussion was to:

  • Reaffirm the role of CERF in enabling the humanitarian community to deliver timely, coordinated, collective and principled assistance to people affected by humanitarian crises, in particular CERF's critical role in displacement crises.
  • Showcase results achieved by local and national partners in refugee and displacement operations with CERF funding.
  • Situate the need for a $1 billion CERF in the current humanitarian landscape.
  • Encourage donor support towards the Secretary-General's call for an increase of CERF to $1 billion by 2018. 
The Panel composition comprised of Mr. Stephen O'Brien, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Hon Sam Kutesa, Uganda Minister of Foreign Affairs and former President of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, Ms. Ulla Tornaes, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Mr. Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner (via VTC from Chad) and Ms. Rosa Malango, Uganda Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative. It was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

The high-level panel, moderated by CNN anchor Jake Tapper, discussed why the funding is needed to enable the CERF to improve the humanitarian community's ability to aid people affected by conflict and crises, particularly displaced people and host communities. In 2016, the number of forcibly displaced people reached a record high with more than 65 million people displaced. In the past two years, close to 70 per cent of CERF's funding has been to operations targeting displaced people and the communities hosting them.

In his intervention, Hon Kutesa commended the work of the CERF in terms of prioritization and responding to immediate needs. "Increasing the CERF is commensurate with the tasks faced by the humanitarian community" he acknowledged. Hon Kutesa also called for increased funding to support refugees and host communities and highlighted the work and challenges faced by Uganda's leaders and partners in implementing the transformational approach to addressing vulnerabilities and refugee needs in the country. Ms Rosa Malango, UN Resident Coordinator, Designated Official and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda noted that CERF allows the UN to deliver as one and to have a targeted and holistic approach.

Since CERF was established in 2006, its annual funding target of $450 million has remained unchanged. The late Maj. Gen Oketa was serving on its advisory committee. Over the past number of years, global humanitarian needs have quadrupled and more than 128 million people are in need of assistance today. Following this 2016 Conference, 29 donors pledged almost US$273 million to the Fund to support urgent aid whenever and wherever crises hit.

This year's Conference was a crucial stepping stone towards the Secretary General's call for a $1billion annual CERF by 2018. Last week, Member States at the United Nations, including Uganda, answered this call for solidarity by adopting the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/71/L.32 in support of a target more in line with the escalating requirements.


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