This week, Ireland welcomes the United Nations to Dublin for two high-level humanitarian meetings: the annual meeting of UN’s Humanitarian Agency, UN OCHA’s Donor Support Group, and the Advisory Group for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, will attend both meetings, and will meet with the Tánaiste.
Speaking ahead of the meetings, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., said:
“I am delighted to welcome the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and other senior officials to Ireland, who together work so hard to ensure that growing humanitarian needs are addressed, and that life-saving assistance reaches those most affected by conflict, natural disasters and famine.”
The Tánaiste concluded:
“Ireland’s role in hosting these two major UN events in Dublin reinforces our standing as a respected leader in international humanitarian action. The Government is strongly committed to working with the UN system and other major donors to ensure that we are meeting today’s urgent humanitarian needs, while also working to tackle the underlying causes, and prevent future crises.”
Notes to the Editor:
Humanitarian needs have never been greater - over 140 million people around the world are in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly 70 million people displaced, largely due to conflict. Humanitarian crises are becoming increasingly complex and protracted, with the average crisis now lasting more than nine years. The impact of climate change is placing many communities at risk, as seen recently with the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar.
The UN’s Humanitarian Agency, UN OCHA, is responsible for the coordination of the international response to humanitarian crises. Over the past year, Ireland has chaired the OCHA’s Donor Support Group, which consists of the 29 governments contributing the most funding to OCHA. On 20-21 June Ireland will host the annual meeting of this group, which is an opportunity for donors to discuss with OCHA our collective response to humanitarian crises.
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a UN humanitarian funding instrument, which aims to rapidly release money when a new crisis occurs or an existing one suddenly escalates. It also provides funding to underfunded and “forgotten” crises. CERF enables donors to pool their funds, which total approximately $450 million annually ensuring rapid humanitarian responses. So far in 2019, the CERF has made $ 318 million available for humanitarian response in 32 countries worldwide, including in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Mozambique, Sudan and Uganda.
Ireland has been a consistent contributor to the CERF, and is currently the 8th largest donor since its inception. Since 2006, Ireland has provided $215.5 million.
The CERF Advisory Group provides expert advice to Sir Mark Lowcock on how CERF’s funds can be used for maximum impact. Ireland’s Ambassador to Colombia, Alison Milton, will assume the role of Chair of the Advisory Group as of 20th June 2019 for a one year term.
Mark Lowcock has been Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (USG) and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) since September 2017. In this role, he is also head of UN OCHA (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). Mark Lowcock has previously visited Ireland on several occasions, most recently in 2018 to deliver a keynote address on innovations within humanitarian financing.