Who We Are:

Central Emergency Response Fund

Central Emergency Response Fund


Ten years ago the UN created the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) with one mission: to enable timely life-saving assistance to people affected by acute crises, rapid onset disasters, armed conflicts and forgotten emergencies. Since 2006, CERF has assisted millions of people across 94 countries through almost $4.5 billion in grants.

CERF is one of the fastest and most effective ways to support rapid humanitarian response for people affected by natural disasters and armed conflict and CERF plays a key role in supporting refugee and displacement responses.

Over the past 10 years, CERF has helped millions of refugees with food, shelter, education and other forms of assistance around the globe.

In recent years, the refugee crisis has put pressure on CERF as our partners need more funding to help millions of people fleeing protracted conflicts.

In 2015, every 2 out of 3 dollars allocated by CERF went to help refugees or people displaced within their country by war or natural disaster.

Since CERF’s inception in 2006, the number of people in need has doubled and the financial humanitarian requirements have risen six-fold. Therefore, the pressure on CERF for urgent life-saving funding to humanitarian response operations is higher today than ever.

Every contribution makes a difference.

Donating to CERF means that every dollar you give is prioritized for the people who need it most.

By making a tax-deductible donation of any amount to CERF, you can provide people in need with emergency supplies and basic services following natural and manmade disasters. Such support includes emergency healthcare, food aid, clean water, shelter and much more.

For example:

  • US$38 could save a child's life by providing enough therapeutic food for 3 weeks.
  • US$ 80 can provide a Winter Survival Pack, with 5 blankets, 500 packets of micronutrient powder and 5,000 water purification tabs.
  • US$140 can provide a kit for clean drinking water to 10 families.

As a 501(c) (3) public charity, contributions made to the UN Foundation are tax deductible for U.S. donors.


CERF is fast: Humanitarian agencies faced with a sudden disaster often struggle to find resources to start life-saving operations. The time between an appeal for assistance and disbursement of funds can be long. This delay costs lives. CERF fills this critical gap, allocating funds within days of an emergency to kick-start relief efforts.

CERF is fair: Decisions are based on needs on the ground, as reported by UN Humanitarian Coordinators. Furthermore, by providing humanitarian assistance to neglected emergencies, the Fund helps redress the imbalance in global aid distribution.

CERF is cost-effective: CERF promotes prioritization and coordination, reducing gaps and overlaps, thus avoiding wasted resources. More importantly, a fast response saves resources, as humanitarian requirements following a disaster can often increase if the situation is not contained immediately.

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