United Nations: UN chief Kofi Annan and Relief Aid Coordinator Jan Egeland formally launched a $500 million humanitarian emergency fund to speed up delivery of life-saving aid whenever disaster strikes.
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was approved by the UN General Assembly last December 15, is to build on the previous UN revolving fund, a loan facility of $50 million established in 1991, by adding a $450 million grant. So far 23 member states have pledged slightly under $200 million to the new fund.
"The launch of the CERF today is a great step forward. Through it, the international community can more quickly, reliably and effectively meet the needs of all those who suffer, no matter where they are and no matter what scale of
the crisis," the Swedish President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, said."Its success will of course depend on the level of funding it receives. Until today, every time disaster strikes, the UN has had to appeal to the world for donations. This takes too long and costs lives," Benn said.
Meanwhile Oxfam International, on Thursday, complained that while developing nations such as Pakistan, India and Egypt have all pledged money to the fund, richer countries like Germany and Japan had not yet done so.