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Evaluation report

2011 Global: 5-Year Evaluation of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) - Synthesis Report



Author: Channel Research

Executive summary

Background:
This evaluation provides an independent assessment of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) over a period of five years from 2006 until 2010.

Purpose/Objective:
Its purpose is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the CERF, and provide recommendations at the operational levels to improve its effectiveness. More broadly, the evaluation is intended to inform debates at the United Nations General Assembly on the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Methodology:
The evaluation was carried out by a team of twelve consultants over an eight-month period. Data was collected through 16 case studies, based on visits to six countries where the CERF is used and a desk-based review of CERF operations in 10 other countries, as well as visits to UN headquarters in Geneva, Rome, and New York, and six donor agency headquarters. The data was analysed according to the CERF's Performance Accountability Framework, and criteria for efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and appropriateness.

Findings and Conclusions:
The CERF Rapid Response grant offers one of the most rapid funding mechanisms available to UN agencies. However, agencies may enjoy even faster access to their own internal emergency reserve funds, or to emergency funds managed at country level.

Overall, the CERF is faced with two priority challenges, both of which were previously identified in the two-year evaluation of the CERF and have not been fully addressed, largely for reasons relating to mandates and inter-agency dynamics. Concerted action is needed at a high level to enable the CERF to realise its full potential, to overcome these continued barriers to its undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of CERF financing, and to apply the lessons from both CERF and other pooled funding systems.

Recommendations:
To UN agencies:
- Conduct an evaluation of their use of CERF funds within 18 months to determine what internal factors, including partnership policies and practices, influence the effectiveness of CERF projects.
- Ensure the development and implementation of emergency procedures for disbursing funds to implementing partners.
- UN agencies that do not use internal advance mechanisms in conjunction with CERF funding should establish interactivity and complementarities between these and the CERF, in order to speed up the start up of projects.



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