The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, anticipating relief needs for the next 18 months, has authorized releasing up to 140 million United States dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a UN spokesman said on Friday.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock gave the green light, starting with 15 million dollars for Somalia, hit with food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and swarms of desert locusts.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), headed by Lowcock, recalled in a release that the relief chief has said it is far more effective to feed a hungry child than to intervene only after it suffers malnutrition.
Last year, OCHA supported setting up an action framework for an anticipated drought in Somalia and it expects to finalize frameworks for a drought in Ethiopia and flooding in Bangladesh.
Even without a drought, food insecurity in Somalia is projected to increase to 22 percent of the population in a crisis state between July and September, OCHA said.
The CERF funding would be complementary to Somalia Humanitarian Fund disbursements.
The framework in Somalia involves work at the OCHA headquarters in New York and the country level in close cooperation with UN agencies, the World Bank, climate research centers, national authorities and other partners.
To maximize the impact, OCHA is engaging with the World Bank on the analytics, as well as the planning and release of finance.
OCHA is also collaborating with the London-based Centre for Disaster Protection on the design of an independent evaluative learning component that will accompany the pilot programs throughout the planning, disbursement and implementation stages.
Findings will feed into decision-making regarding the further development of a CERF anticipatory action approach.