Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
High Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
13 December 2007
Iceland welcomes the successful achievements of the Central Emergency Response Fund during its first years of operation. The fund has proved its purpose and it has our continuous support.
We all know that extensive delays in getting humanitarian assistance to those in need can prove to be disastrous. For that reason, predictable, fast and sound funding in the wake of humanitarian disasters is of essence.
Here, the Central Emergency Response Fund has an important role to play, as it provides a reliable source of finance that helps agencies on the ground to deal with humanitarian problems quickly.
Or, to put it plainly: the Fund enables the UN to do more and to do it sooner - it saves lives!
One of the most important aspects of the Fund is, in our view, the emphasis on addressing under-funded emergencies. It is sometimes hard to admit, but political realities have repeatedly translated into over-emphasis on certain emergencies, perhaps at the cost of others. These are realities that we will continue to be faced with, and therefore it is up to the UN to ensure that those under-funded emergencies get the necessary attention. In this connection, the Fund plays a crucial role.
Governments have an important role to play in ensuring availability of funds. Iceland, no stranger to catastrophic volcanic eruptions and strong earthquakes, has supported the CERF from its inception. We are pleased to observe the enthusiasm with which member states have pledged contributions to the Fund, and are glad to inform you that in 2008 the Government of Iceland will contribute five hundred and sixty thousand USD (560.000) to the Fund.