MANILA -- The Philippines is among nine states to benefit from a United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) amounting to USD100 million or about PHP5 billion.

This was announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the first allocation round to neglected crises, during the annual CERF high-level pledging conference for 2018 early December.

The UN said the allocation, to be outsourced from the 2017 CERF, would help people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Haiti, Mali, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Of the total amount, the Philippines will be sharing with Mali USD13 million to strengthen relief efforts in response to internal conflicts.

In Mali, UN accounted that insecurity and conflict has spread from the north to the center leaving an estimated 3.8 million people in need of urgent life-saving help.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, armed conflict in Marawi City displaced an estimated 350,000 people, the majority of whom remain at evacuation centers or with host communities as basic services have not been restored.

“In all these crises, CERF funds will enable UN agencies and their partners to carry out essential life-saving activities, and contribute to longer-term resilience and stability,” the Secretary-General said, reinforcing the important role CERF plays as a lifeline for people trapped in crises.

According to UN, the Emergency Relief Coordinator twice a year allocates a combined one-third of the annual CERF funds through Underfunded Emergencies (UFE) grants for life-saving activities in protracted or neglected humanitarian crises where funding is low but vulnerability and risk levels are high.

The focus of this UFE round is to support critical humanitarian interventions in nine ongoing protracted and neglected crises affected by conflict, displacement, food insecurity and malnutrition.

UN gets USD383-M pledge

In the annual high-level pledging conference, 36 donors pledged USD383 million for the 2018 CERF to ensure urgent humanitarian aid reaches people in need whenever and wherever crises hit.

In 2017, the UN set aside USD2.4 million to the Philippines, or 0.59 percent of its USD418.2-million funding.

"Since CERF was launched in 2005, humanitarian needs have increased from USD5.2 billion to over USD24 billion today," said Guterres.

"Conflict and early warning indicators show that in the next year, 2018, protracted crises are likely to continue, while the impact of climate change is likely to grow in intensity and in impact. There is no sign of a let-up in humanitarian needs," he added.

To that end, the General Assembly in 2017 adopted a resolution calling for an expansion of CERF’s annual funding target from USD450 million to USD1 billion.

Guterres has noted that the global humanitarian funding gap also stands at USD11 billion as of November 2017 and humanitarian response plans are funded at an average of just 60 percent.

"A USD1 billion CERF will help to bolster contingency financing so that we are able to mitigate and respond to humanitarian suffering quickly in the future," he said. "USD1 billion is an ambitious but achievable goal."

CERF, created in 2005, is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (PNA)