Evaluating the CERF’s added value in DRC

Lead Consultant: Silvia Hidalgo

The Value Added of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in DRC

Dahlia’s Review focuses on whether the operations of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund in the Democratic Republic of Congo added value to the broader humanitarian endeavour in the country.

CERF in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), conceived to enable more timely and reliable needs-based humanitarian assistance, has provided funding in DRC since 2006.

In the same year, three other humanitarian reform initiatives related to CERF were rolled out in the country: the “Pooled Fund” (a Common Humanitarian Fund in the form of a multi-donor pooled fund); the cluster approach; and the first country-level Good Humanitarian Donor initiative.

These initiatives have been employed against the backdrop of the volatile and ever-changing humanitarian landscape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country affected by a range of complex – even chronic – crises linked to conflict and structural instability, creating a context in which humanitarian response must be constantly adapted.

Filling gaps, bolstering capacity and improving coordination

Review of CERF’s added value in DRC

Our Review sets out to understand the synergies and level of complementarity between CERF and the Pooled Fund in DRC, as well as to explore whether CERF added value to the overall humanitarian endeavour.

Most UN agencies have emphasised how critical CERF funding has been for their operations, particularly in terms of response to epidemics. Taking stock of this finding, we further explored how CERF added value by providing funding to Cluster Lead agencies, facilitating more decentralised capacity and operations among UN agencies, and enabling the HC to better hold UN cluster lead agencies to account.

CERF has helped to fill gaps in various sectors, provide timely funding, reinitiate and organise clusters, and improve coordination and joint action around specific problems. Crucially, CERF allocations have added value by not being spread too thin.

While outlining the challenges related to CERF which persist in DRC, including the need for greater clarification on when to seek CERF funding, our Review offers recommendations on strategies by which to strengthen the effectiveness of CERF’s use in the country.