UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon selected the new composition of the 16-member council of the UN Central Emergency Response Force (CERF) on 31 October, 2008. Re-selected for the council was Riigikogu member and former Rescue Board director Mati Raidma, who has been on the council since the creation of the fund.
The task of the CERF council is to give the UN Secretary General and the UN catastrophe aid co-ordinators guidelines for the effective usage of the fund’s contributions. The council has 12 members and 4 substitute members. Including Raidma, there are 6 members from the previous composition in the new council, in order to ensure the institutional consistency of the council. The members of the council do not represent their state or government, but are there with individual expert status.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the Estonian representative’s ongoing term in the CERF council is a testament to the high level of Estonian experts participating in international rescue work. “We have been able to participate in concrete rescue operation as well as offer experts for the planning of solutions to emergency situations,” emphasised Paet, focusing on the importance of planning in reacting to crises.
The CERF, which began working in March 2006, is a crisis fund managed by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. When a crisis arises, UN sub-organisations, programmes and agencies that deal with humanitarian crises receive funds for immediate action.
Since the creation of the fund, CERF has allocated more than 1 billion dollars to finance humanitarian activities in various crisis areas throughout the world. Money is mainly given for natural disasters, as well as to cover urgent needs after neglected or “forgotten crises”. To date, 65 nations have received aid from the CERF. Estonia has supported the fund with financial contributions since its creation.
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UN Secretary General names Estonian representative to UN Central Emergency Response Fund Council