A strategic instrument of German humanitarian assistance
In 2020, Germany paid in a total of almost 200 million euro to Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs). It was thus the largest donor to CBPFs worldwide. These funds have been used to help people in a total of 18 countries.
Germany is a proponent of CBPFs because these facilitate swift and effective assistance. Furthermore, approximately one quarter of the funds from the CBPFs go to local organisations. In emergency situations, local organisations are often the first to help. They also have better access to people in need.
Assistance for Yemen and the Central African Republic
One example showing how the Country-Based Pooled Funds work is food security in Yemen. Years of violent conflict have brought immeasurable suffering to the people. Some 21 million Yemenites – approximately 70% of the population – are dependent on humanitarian assistance and protection. The worst problems affecting the people are hunger, illness and displacement. Funds from the CBPF have enabled aid organisations to distribute food and cash. Farmers have been provided with seeds and fishermen with equipment with a view to enabling the people to secure food sources themselves in the longer term. In 2020, Germany contributed 22.5 million euro to the CBPF for Yemen.
Also in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBPF proved to be an effective tool, for example in the Central African Republic. The country which has been plagued by political crisis and violent conflict since 2013 has little medical infrastructure. Thanks to the CBPF, national and international relief organisations were able to stage awareness-raising campaigns, make available protective equipment and prepare the shelters housing the approximately 800,000 internally displaced persons in the country for the pandemic.
Country-Based Pooled Funds: Reacting immediately to disasters
Whether it is a natural disaster or a violent conflict that breaks out and dominates the news, such reports and images often trigger an impressive readiness to help. In 2005, for example, following the devastating tsunami in South-East Asia, public and private actors donated the then record-breaking sum of 17 billion US dollars.
However, the funding needed is not always available immediately as it was back then. Often weeks and months pass and extremely valuable time is lost. After all, the initial period following a disaster is the decisive phase when it comes to emergency measures to limit damage and save lives.
To meet this challenge, the United Nations set up Country-Based Pooled Funds in particularly crisis-prone regions. States and private donors pay into the Funds without these having a precisely defined purpose.
If a humanitarian emergency breaks out in one of the countries for which funds exist, funding is made available immediately and can be used in fast and flexible fashion for emergency measures. It then falls to the teams commissioned by OCHA – the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – to set priorities on the ground and select partner organisations to implement the measures. This means that the people affected can receive life-saving assistance without delay.