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On behalf of the Italian Government, I wish to thank the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for providing us with such a useful update on the recent activities carried out through the Central Emergency Response Fund.

Mme Chairman, Italy acknowledges the success of CERF in bolstering effective humanitarian coordination by improving the speed, equity and predictability of humanitarian assistance. Italy recognizes the importance of the Fund to secure prompt resources to address acute humanitarian interventions as well as the so-called “forgotten crises”.

This OCHA-managed fund is one of the best and most versatile collective emergency response tools we have. The recent humanitarian disaster in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan is a good example of the Fund’s added value: the prompt release of CERF funds proved to be a crucial element of the international response. In such situations, where millions of people are displaced and in dire need of assistance, it is of the utmost importance that the actors present on the ground be enabled to act immediately, without delay.

By the same token, CERF’s Rapid Response funding contributed crucial support to the humanitarian agencies in Syria and affected neighbouring Countries, providing them with the additional resources they needed to respond to the regional crisis.

Despite the negative global economy and its impact on donors’ budgets, we are pleased to note the remarkable support of humanitarian donors, who in 2012 made a total investment of $427 million to CERF.

Italy welcomes the recent final update of the Management Response Plan (MRP) to the CERF five-year evaluation, which is a useful instrument for the Humanitarian Coordinator, the CERF Secretariat, donors, UN Agencies, and cluster coordinators. One of the many noteworthy positive outcomes is the increased involvement of NGOs in the cluster coordination system and the proven success of CERF in attracting funds from a broader range of stakeholders than the traditional humanitarian donors.

In conclusion, allow me to take this opportunity to reaffirm Italy’s full and unconditional support for CERF. I am therefore quite pleased to announce that, despite current financial constraints and budget shortfalls in our Development Cooperation as a whole, the Italian Government has decided to double its annual contribution to CERF for 2014, bringing it to a total of 1 million euros (which means over 1.377.000 USD – one million three hundred seventy seven dollars).

Thank you, Mme Chairman.