Central Emergency Trust Fund

United Nations
Geographical focus: 
Thematic focus: 
Tourism in general
Human Rights in Tourism
Intro text: 
The UN General Assembly established CERF on 15 December 2005 to update the Central Emergency Revolving Fund. It was launched in March 2006. OCHA Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is one of the fastest and most effective ways to support rapid humanitarian response for people affected by natural disasters and armed-conflict.

Official website


Who can apply?

CERF Funding is available to UN agencies, funds and programme, and the International Organization for Migration. NGO’s also receive funding when they carry out work for recipient organizations.

In emergencies, humanitarian organizations apply jointly for funding. Funds are immediately released if these proposals meet CERF’s criteria, id est the needs are urgent and the proposed activities will save lives.

Objectives and activities

Objective: There are three main objectives:

-        Promote early action and response to reduce loss of life.

-        Enhance response to time-critical requirements.

-        Strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises.

Main activities: Main areas of work: emergency relief, humanitarian needs, id est food delivery, safe drinking water, medical supplies and other life-saving aid, in a fast and more efficient way (rapid response).

Type and level of funding

There are three levels of financing: Underfunded Emergencies Grants, Loans, Grants.

CERF allocations are designed to complement other humanitarian funding sources, such as country-based pooled funds and bilateral funding.

-        Underfunded Emergencies Grants: disbursed twice a year for emergencies that have not attracted sufficient funding.

-        Loan: CERF has a loan facility USD 30 million. Up to one-year loans are provided based on indication that donor funding is forthcoming.

-        Grant: CERF allocates funds by country, sector, and agency (highest grants allocated to WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, IOM, FAO, UNFPA, UNRWA, UNDP, UNOPS, UN Women- data 1/01/2015-17/09/2015).

Countries with higher Grant allocations: Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, Lebanon, Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Jordan, Turkey, Myanmar).

Top Grant allocation for sector: Food, Health, Water and Sanitation, Multi-sector, shelter and non-food items, Health and Nutrition, Protection of Human Rights, Rule of Law, Agriculture, Coordination and Support Services-Logistics, Education, Camp Management.

CERF is funded by voluntary contributions. Since 2006, CERF has received almost USD 3.8 billion from 125 UN Member States and observers, regional and local authorities, and other public and private donors, and it has allocated to help millions of people in 92 countries and territories across the world. A third of CERF’s contributors have also received support from the fund.

In an average year, CERF allocated approximately USD 450 million to humanitarian operations in some 50 different countries.