Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
2014 Requirements: US$3,564,000
In 2014, a number of countries across the CEE/CIS region have been or continue to be gripped by emergency situations due to political instability, disease outbreak, conflict and displacement as well as natural hazards. In Ukraine, the events in Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) and the subsequent fighting between Government forces and rebels have forced thousands of people to flee their homes. Those who stayed behind continue to face security risks as well as disruption of life-sustaining services like water and electricity. As a result of the unabated crisis in Syria, Syrian refugees continue to pour across into Turkey and to spread to other countries in the region, including Bulgaria and Armenia. The conflict in Syria continues to have a major humanitarian impact on boys and girls in CEE/CIS not only on their physical and psychosocial well-being but also on their very limited access to basic services like healthcare and education. The torrential rains in mid-May in South Eastern Europe triggered unprecedented flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia and Serbia, resulting in loss of lives, displacements and damage and destruction to critical infrastructures in all three countries. The security situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh has worsened with the increase in skirmishes at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In Central Asia, some communities in Tajikistan experienced localized floods and landslides in spring.
Regional Office (RO) – Results 2014 (January to June)
The CEE/CIS Regional Office (RO) continued to actively support the country offices in responding to the needs of the children affected by emergency situations during the first half of 2014. At the onset of the flooding in South Eastern Europe, the RO provided extensive support to the BiH, Serbia and Croatia country offices on needs assessments, inter-agency coordination and resource mobilization, including staffing and funding. As regards to the Syrian refugee influx of refugees in the region, the RO continues to provide dedicated support to Turkey, Armenia and Bulgaria offices in managing the refugee situation. As Turkey is part of the sub-regional response mechanism, the RO has actively coordinated technical support to the office including through in-country missions and contributed to the global L3 management arrangement, effective till February 2015. The RO has also provided technical assistance for developing nutritional communication materials and advice; training and preparing for and surging technical support for nutrition survey ; providing technical assistance to the polio response (provision of vaccines, development/advice to government on communication materials and surge); but also on communication strategy; and preparing/assisting with donor visits to Turkey. With regards to Ukraine, the RO has conducted several in-country missions to support the country office with ongoing emergency response, which continues to be constrained by various political and security factors.
In the area of emergency preparedness, the RO has been actively coordinating and supporting the implementation of the CEE/CIS region’s component of the global DFID grant for capacity development in humanitarian action for Central Asia, with a particular emphasis on Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Under this initiative, UNICEF has carried out emergency preparedness trainings, including sessions on CCCs for Government, UN, NGOs and UNICEF staff in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. The RO also supported updates of inter-agency contingency plans in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Similar trainings are planned for in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. An Inter-Agency simulation exercise is planned in Uzbekistan during September 2014, while a cross-border exercise, led jointly with governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is planned in October 2014. Humanitarian Performance Monitoring tools have been developed for the priority countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In addition, Logistics Capacity Assessments are being updated for all three countries, while specific supply and procurement assessments will be carried out in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In Turkey, the RO supported a capacity building workshop on child protection, reaching some fifteen team leaders of the Turkish civil protection teams.
In Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the RO continues to serve as the secretariat and provides technical input for the DRR working group, under the ten-point Regional Knowledge and Leadership Agenda. It has led the preparation of the work plan, dissemination of knowledge products, organization of regular meetings and technical support to the country offices in implementing DRR programming. In addition, the RO coordinated the preparation and submission of a €1.35 million regional proposal to ECHO for DIPECHO funding for Central Asia and South Caucasus. Moreover, RO has been coordinating and providing technical support to country offices implementing the set-aside funds, which are being used to support capacity development of local authorities in sharpening disaster risk analyses (DRA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. A dedicated workshop was organized in April 2014 for UNICEF staff to orient them on the disaster risk analysis framework and approaches. This was followed by national and sub-national level DRA in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan as well as in. UNICEF CO’s in BiH, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia have supported the respective Governments to enhance schools safety based on the assessment methodology tailored to country needs, developed by the RO.
Armenia – Results 2014 (January to June)
The influx of Syrian Armenian (SA) families continues to increase and according to the Government since the start of the conflict in Syria until spring 2014, approximately 16,000 persons displaced due to the conflict, have at some stage sought protection in Armenia - of whom 12,000 remain in the country. According to the recent Save the Children assessment report, up to 50% of children lack access to preschool institutions due to the insufficient spaces, language barrier and health problems. In terms of support to SA children, UNICEF requires additional funding to conduct in-depth assessment of the impact of conflict on children; facilitate their access to education; support children’s mental health and psychosocial well-being; and advocate for social inclusion of the most vulnerable children.
Bulgaria – Results 2014 (January to June)
By end of June, the number of asylum seekers was 4,452 (of which 775 children) according to UNHCR. Over half of the people were from Syria, mainly families with children, including unaccompanied minors. UNICEF continued to support coordination and to work with Government partners, UNHCR and NGOs to ensure access to education, health services as well as social and legal protection for refugee children. UNICEF provided training to NGO partners on how to work with refugee children; supported educational activities for children in six refugee centres through the provision of school supplies and conducted a health campaign on nursing and breast feeding combined with counselling and support to refugee mothers with babies. In addition, through a communication and advocacy campaign UNICEF tackled negative attitudes against refugees and promoted solidarity among Bulgarian school children. At the policy level, UNICEF provided advice for the formulation of draft amendments of the Law on Asylum Seekers that would enable access to education for refugee children and would ensure adequate social and legal protection for non-accompanied minors.
Tajikistan – Results 2014 (January to June)
No major emergency occurred in Tajikistan, apart from a few small scale floods and mudslides which were responded to by local authorities, without the need for extensive support from the humanitarian community. UNICEF did provide psycho-social support to children and families most affected by the floods. Tajikistan is one of the focus countries under the global DFID grant for humanitarian capacity development. In view of this, efforts have concentrated in building the emergency response capacities of the office and partners.
- As part of the overall contingency stocks, some 900,000 water purification tablets have been procured to establish a standing readiness to timely respond to any potential emergency.
- A specific contingency plan for child protection has been developed and endorsed by the Government. Another one has been drafted for education and one for water and sanitation is planned for in the second half of the year.
- The capacity of civil society organisations to provide psycho-social support is being enhanced.
- A capacity development workshop on CCCs for government counterparts has been scheduled for autumn 2014.
To date, no funds have been received against the country funding requirements for humanitarian response. Under UNICEF’s global partnership with DFID, the CEE/CIS Regional Office has received a total funding of USD 826,785to support emergency coordination and preparedness in Central Asia as well as in the wider region.