Humanitarian Health Action

CERF life-saving criteria and sectoral activities guidelines

7 August 2007

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a stand-by fund established by the United Nations to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts by rapidly and effectively channelling resources to humanitarian agencies. The CERF was approved by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 December 2005 to achieve the following objectives:

  • promote early action and response to reduce loss of life;
  • enhance response to time-critical requirements;
  • strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in under-funded crises

These guidelines aim at clarifying definitions and determining criteria for the grant window of the CERF. They cover general and sectoral criteria for the rapid response and under-funded windows of the Fund and seek to improve the quality of submission and speed up the approval process. At the same time, it is recognized that a degree of flexibility, and predictability in regards to funded activities, should guide the application of these criteria. Against this background the following criteria and suggestions are offered, noting that further refinement and review of 'lifesaving criteria' may be required in the future.