SFERA - Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation
What is SFERA?
The Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) was established in 2004 to enhance FAO’s capacity to rapidly respond to emergency situations. Through strategic resource partner funding, SFERA provides FAO with the financial means and flexibility to react promptly to humanitarian crises, reducing the time between funding decision and action on the ground.
Why invest in SFERA?
Most of the poor and hungry depend on renewable natural resources for their livelihoods. These natural resource-based livelihoods are most affected by natural hazards, transboundary pests and diseases, socio-economic shocks, conflict and protracted crises, making smallholder farmers, fishers and herders more vulnerable to shocks.
During a crisis, many productive assets such as seeds, livestock and fishing gear are lost. FAO’s first priority is to help affected farming families produce their own food, rebuild their lives and livelihoods as quickly as possible while strengthening their resilience.
When effective agriculture-based response is delayed, communities suffer a domino effect of further losses that plunge them deeper into poverty and reliance on external aid.
- Rapid and effective agricultural assistance thanks to the quick release of funding within a few days after a disaster, even before official resource partner agreements are finalized.
- Strategic programme support to formulate resilience building response.
- Quick capacity recovery of crisis-affected populations through rapid agricultural input delivery to restore food production and stabilize livelihoods.
- Increased cost-effectiveness by reducing time and transaction costs for all stakeholders.
Results on the ground
Resource partner contributions through SFERA’s programme component allowed FAO to allocate resources according to the response priorities and evolution of the crisis, assuring a flexible response as the disease spread.
Level 3 Emergency Response
Thanks to SFERA, a coordinated Level 3 Emergency Response was set up quickly after the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and FAO was able to mobilize seed money to deploy teams, plan a response and quickstart operations on the ground.
SFERA’s revolving fund made it possible for FAO to immediately provide extra support in the Central African Republic for needs assessments and technical support missions after the outbreak of the conflict in December 2012.
Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity
Resource partner contributions to SFERA’S Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity window allowed the rapid rehabilitation of productive infrastructure, income generation and timely access to planting material and tools for more than 3 000 farming families after Hurricane Sandy in Haiti in 2012.
How to contribute?
- Provide unearmarked direct contributions to SFERA’s revolving fund.
- Authorize the transfer of interests or unspent balances from closed projects to SFERA’s revolving fund.
- Allocate a grant to a programme for more strategic assistance to a specific crisis.
- Provide funding to SFERA’s Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity window for specific agricultural input assistance.
Through SFERA annual reports, resource partners receive yearly information on the activities and results achieved within the programmes.
FAO seeks to further expand its partnership with resource partners through SFERA as an effective means to respond rapidly to shocks, maximize the impact on beneficiaries and increase the cost-effectiveness of preparedness and emergency response, thereby reducing the need for costly external assistance in the longer term.