Map of the CEE/CIS region
UNICEF photo © UNICEF/ PFPG2014P-0748/

Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

including Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

2015 Country Office Requirements: US$4,795,000

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2015 Regional Office Requirements: US$1,450,000

The region of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) is exposed to a range of emergency risks. A number of countries across the region continue to face political instability, conflict, disease outbreaks, and displacement, and are highly vulnerable to natural hazards. In Ukraine, the events in Crimea in March 2014 and the fighting between government forces and opposition groups in the eastern part of the country has forced more than one million people to flee their homes. Those who have stayed behind continue to face security risks as well as the disruption of basic services, including water and electricity. Syrian refugees continue to flee into Turkey as the crisis in Syria rages on unabated with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. The influx continues to spread to other countries in the region, including Bulgaria and Armenia. The security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has worsened with the increase of skirmishes at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, diminishing hopes for a peaceful settlement of the disputed territory. The situation with regard to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia also remains of concern. Tensions in Ferghana Valley continue to make life difficult for citizens in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while new threats keep emerging in border areas due to limited natural resources. The continued volatile situation in Afghanistan continues to pose threats of displacement and refugee influx into neighbouring countries in Central Asia. In May 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia experienced unprecedented floods, which resulted in the loss of lives, displacement, and damage and destruction to critical infrastructures in all three countries. Much of the CEE/CIS region is prone to major earthquakes, land/mudslides and floods. Flash floods in April 2014 in Tajikistan took the lives of many children, while the earthquake that hit northern Kyrgyzstan in November 2014 damaged over 2,500 homes, causing families and children to look for new shelter during freezing cold conditions. With driving factors such as climate change, urbanization and migration, disasters associated with natural hazards in the region are increasing in frequency and severity. All of these emergencies create grave humanitarian concerns for girls and boys in terms of their physical and psychosocial well-being and their access to basic services, such as healthcare and education.

  • Regional Office (RO)

    2015 Planned Results: The Regional Office (RO) will continue to support country offices (COs) to respond to the ongoing crises in the region. The RO will provide strategic guidance, quality assurance and technical assistance to the Turkey Country Office in its response to the Syrian refugee crisis, within the framework of Regional Response and Resilience Plan. The Ukraine Country Office will be closely supported in monitoring, planning and responding to the humanitarian consequences resulting from the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. Support will also be extended to those country offices that contend with seasonal emergencies, including floods, mudslides, earthquakes or extreme winter conditions. Within the framework of the global grant for emergency preparedness from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the RO will continue to provide technical assistance and oversight to the country offices in Central Asia to ensure the successful implementation of planned activities in 2015. The RO will maintain its fruitful collaboration with WFP and OCHA to undertake follow-up actions identified in the inter-agency contingency plans updated in 2014 for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In addition, and as part of UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children (CCCs) in Humanitarian Action and Cluster Approach accountabilities, the RO will work with country offices and humanitarian partners to organize emergency capacity building trainings and simulation exercises aimed at strengthening UNICEF staff and partner capabilities for emergency response. The RO, in collaboration with HQ, plans to conduct specific capacity building interventions in education, early childhood development, nutrition, health and WASH in emergencies, targeting at-risk countries. In addition, the RO will conduct a review and update of its regional First Line Responders roster to strengthen the CEE/CIS regional capacity to deploy experienced staff in a timely and effective manner. In line with an initiative of the UNICEF Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS), country offices will be supported in updating the Early Warning and Early Action system for the region. As part of the Afghanistan contingency planning process led by the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, the CEE/CIS RO and EMOPS will continue to work with the COs in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to review and enhance preparedness plans, and will work with Kazakhstan to serve as a support hub for countries in Central Asia but also potentially Afghanistan. Moreover, the RO will explore ways to build capacity within the region to support recovery needs assessments, especially in education, child protection and WASH.

    In the area of disaster risk reduction, the RO will guide and support the implementation of multi-sector disaster risk reduction programmes in countries across the region and provide technical guidance to country offices, especially those engaged in the UNDAF process, to develop specific strategies and approaches to integrate disaster risk reduction and resilience in their upcoming Country Programmes.

    Country offices will be supported in strengthening national capacities in child-centred disaster risk reduction, including the integration of risk mitigation strategies into national policies and strategies. The RO will also provide coordination and technical support to the country offices in the South Caucasus and Central Asia to implement the €1.8 million regional DRR programme primarily funded by the European Commission. Within that programme, the RO will support country offices to assist governments in advancing and institutionalizing school safety, promoting child participation in DRR awareness and approaches, and analysing vulnerabilities of girls and boys vis-à-vis natural hazards. The RO will organize a regional knowledge management event, bringing together key regional partners and government institutions from the South Caucasus and Central Asia to take stock of progress, experience and good practices in DRR, as well as to exchange innovative ideas and knowledge, and enhance partnerships and networks.

    2014 Results: UNICEF appealed for over US$3.5 million in 2014 and as of 31 December 2014, a total of US$772,030 had been received, representing about 22 per cent of requirements. The RO provided technical assistance to a number of countries responding to emergencies in the region, including on-site support to Turkey, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. This involved providing support to country offices in conducting assessments, planning priority response, mobilizing human and financial resources, and liaising with inter-agency partners. In the area of disaster risk reduction, the RO led the development of a guidance note for strengthening stronger disaster risk analysis by sub-national authorities. A regional workshop was organized in April 2014, which was followed by training events in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. The RO also led the participation of several countries in the region at several international and/or regional DRR events, including the Central Asia and South Caucasus Post-Hyogo Framework for Action Consultation (April 2014, Almaty), the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR (June 2014, Bangkok) and the Safe Schools Leaders meeting (October 2014, Istanbul). Under the UNICEF Regional Knowledge and Leadership Agenda (RKLA) result for DRR, the RO supported the organization of regular meetings, which served as an important forum for country offices to exchange information and experience on disaster risk reduction initiatives. In the framework of the global DFID programme, the RO organized the first-ever national-level simulation exercise in Uzbekistan with the participation of government and of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT). In close collaboration with WFP and OCHA, the RO played a key role in the organization of the cross-border simulation exercise between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, involving the HCTs and governments on both sides. Emergency preparedness and response-training workshops were organized for UNICEF COs, NGO partners, UNCTs and governments in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

  • Armenia

    2015 Planned Results: According to the Ministry of Diaspora and UNHCR, there are approximately 1,000 Syrian children of Armenian origin in the country. Of these, some 200 children lack access to preschool institutions due to insufficient available space, language barriers and health problems. Key challenges faced by the displaced families are finding affordable shelter and a means of livelihood, and integration into social services such as education, health, social protection and psychosocial support. As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, some 100 Ukrainian families have recently returned to Armenia to seek assistance and protection. In 2015, UNICEF will support: (1) the school-readiness of approximately 200 preschool-aged children from the most vulnerable refugee families; (2) the integration of 200 Syrian youth into community-based activities; and (3) the provision of psychosocial support to children and youth who have been displaced from Syria and Ukraine. UNICEF also plans to conduct a situation analysis of children and women in the regions located near the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, where ceasefire violations and shootings may occur. The analysis will help better understand child protection issues and inform possible interventions.

    2014 Results: The influx of Syrian families continues to increase. According to the Government, since the start of the conflict in Syria, some 16,000 people have at some stage sought protection in Armenia; of these, 12,000 remain in the country. In 2014, the Government facilitated the admission of Syrian children into kindergarten, but the insufficient number of kindergartens limits the opportunities for displaced children to enrol in preschool education and care. UNICEF continued to support school disaster preparedness in 11 communities prone to different types of natural hazards, benefiting over 3,300 preschool- and school-aged children. This has supported raising awareness and building a culture of safety and resilience among children. UNICEF also supported the Government in conducting a nationwide school safety assessment, particularly focusing on seismic risk. The results would serve as a basis for a national programme for the structural improvements of schools. Within this framework, a total of 60 most-at-risk schools have been assessed to develop recommendations to inform retrofitting or reconstruction interventions.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a disaster-prone country. According to a comprehensive risk assessment undertaken in 2011 by UNDP and the EU, BiH is particularly vulnerable to floods, landslides, earthquakes, droughts and forest fires due to its mountainous topography. The May 2014 floods acted as a stark reminder of the country’s vulnerability in the context of climate change.

    2015 Planned Results: UNICEF will continue to help the country recover from the floods and prepare for future emergencies. In the first quarter, the CO will finalize its refurbishment works in schools, centres for social welfare, and municipality buildings as part of recovery efforts. In terms of DRR, UNICEF will implement disaster risk activities based on the findings from the disaster risk analyses (DRA) in two municipalities. UNICEF will also expand the regional DRA model to five more municipalities to further understand the vulnerabilities of children in BiH. The CO will adopt a holistic approach by increasing capacity of all municipal workers in social inclusion and protection through training and preparedness planning at the local level, with a special attention to address the needs of children with disabilities and the needs of Roma. In partnership with other UN agencies, UNICEF will also support improvement in early warning systems to reduce harm for children when disaster strikes. In 2015, UNICEF plans to: increase school safety for 6,000 children by training teachers and children through drills, exercises and workshops; train 160 social workers to identify children highly vulnerable to disasters and mapping for response purposes; and support five vulnerable municipalities in setting up child-friendly schools in areas affected by floods. To achieve these results, UNICEF has already received financial resources from the Regional Office as well as from donors, and UNICEF BiH is actively mobilizing additional resources from National Committees and donor governments.

    2014 Results: In May 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced the worst floods in its history, affecting more than one million people across one third of the country. The UN, World Bank and EU estimated a total damage cost of US$1.6 billion. Faced with this unprecedented disaster, UNICEF reprogrammed US$775,000 and mobilized more than US$3.5 million (as part of the sub-regional funding request for US$3.6 million) for interventions in WASH, health, education, child protection and social inclusion. During the emergency and recovery phase, UNICEF BiH and its partners: (i) opened 32 child-friendly spaces across the country benefiting 3,820 children, including children with disabilities; (ii) refurbished more than 90 schools benefiting close to 39,000 children; and (iii) repaired 19 centres for social welfare reaching up to 30,000 children. UNICEF specifically reached children with disabilities by facilitating a donation from the NGO Human Action International of dozens of wheelchairs to centres for social welfare in affected areas, and by providing clean water treatment and storage equipment in Roma-populated areas. DRR activities continued in the form of two DRAs in vulnerable municipalities and conducting DRR education in all child-friendly spaces.

  • Bulgaria

    With the ongoing conflict in Syria, an increasing number of people are seeking asylum in Bulgaria. By the end of October 2014, over 8,000 refugees had applied for international protection, with about 1,600 of them being children. Despite the progress achieved by the Bulgarian authorities with the reception and the registration of refugees, there are significant gaps in the Bulgarian asylum system, particularly with respect to the lack of an effective system for guardianship appointment for unaccompanied children, low access to formal education, a lack of integration measures, and inadequate psychosocial support for children. In 2014, torrential rains caused devastating floods across northeastern Bulgaria, leaving many villages without electricity and submerging large parts of several cities in the region. At least 26 people died, including four children, and thousands were evacuated. While the Government did not request assistance from UNICEF, in the aftermath of the floods, local authorities reported that social workers and field staff did not have adequate knowledge and skills to properly respond to the needs of children and other groups requiring special attention and support. These groups include children with disabilities, children in residential care and children living in poverty, especially Roma. According to the last census (2011), the Roma ethnic minority numbers 325,000 or 4.9 per cent of the population, but its actual number is estimated at between 700,000 to 800,000, or 10 per cent of the population.

    2015 Planned Results: In 2015 UNICEF will: (1) support the establishment of a coordination mechanism for the protection and care of unaccompanied and separated children; (2) develop guidelines and training materials for working with unaccompanied and separated children; (3) provide technical assistance for the development of services for psychosocial support for refugee children; (4) prepare child-friendly information materials for unaccompanied and separated children; (5) assess the response to the 2014 floods in three municipalities in order to identify specific capacity gaps; (6) provide capacity development for responding to children and families affected by emergencies with special focus on the most vulnerable groups: children in institutions, children with disabilities and Roma children; and (7) advocate with the Government for the adoption of policies on emergency preparedness and response, focusing on children and resilience to crisis.

    2014 Results: Throughout 2014, UNICEF coordinated with government partners, UNHCR and NGOs to ensure access to education and health services as well as social and legal protection for over 1,000 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 breastfeeding 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 on 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 unaccompanied and separated children. These activities were supported through US$25,000 of funds raised locally.

  • Croatia

    2015 Planned Results: The floods response in 2014 revealed a number of challenges in the emergency preparedness and response systems of Croatia, both at national and local levels. The response was particularly problematic in the areas of child protection, education in emergencies, and even in the provision of basic needs (shelter and food) during emergency and recovery phases. The need to strengthen the existing systems, with particular focus on children, was recognized by key state and non-state actors and UNICEF was invited to provide technical support and expertise. Therefore, a process of strengthening “child-friendly” emergency preparedness and response systems, at national and local levels, will be initiated in 2015. In particular, this will involve: (a) continued direct response in flood-affected areas through the provision of early childhood education and psychosocial support for some 50 children, working with the most vulnerable children in a container settlement and surrounding areas, and linking the humanitarian response with longer term development work in this marginalized area of Croatia; and (b) technical assistance for systemic work on improving the emergency preparedness in Croatia, from a child rights perspective, at national and local levels.

    2014 Results: In May 2014, Croatia was affected by heavy rainfalls, which resulted in large scale flooding. According to official records, there were two casualties and 27,255 people were affected by the flooding, while 8,635 people from Vukovar-Srijem County were evacuated as their homes were either destroyed or severely damaged. Within one week after the floods, the UNICEF Country Office in Croatia organized emergency response activities and provided over 4,000 Kg of hygiene supplies and drinking water, followed up by the provision of disinfectants and repellents for children. Two child-friendly spaces that integrated psychosocial support as well as creative and educational activities were organized in the flood-affected areas, one of which is still being operated in the container settlement in the town of Gunja. Over 220 children participated in the child-friendly spaces activities organized over the six-month period. Furthermore, UNICEF supported the purchase of textbooks for 845 primary school students from the affected areas and conducted training for parents, educators and other professionals in identifying post-emergency trauma in children. These interventions were possible thanks to the national fund-raising efforts and US$120,000 from UNICEF’s German National Committee.

  • Georgia

    2015 Planned Results: UNICEF Georgia will continue to support the Government’s Emergency Management Department and Ministry of Education in further mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into education. In particular, support will be provided in reviewing and revising the existing DRR pedagogical materials to enhance awareness and knowledge among school children regarding disaster risks. Two schools will be supported to serve as models for others to learn about school safety protocols and procedures. At the national level, UNICEF will work with the relevant government and NGO partners to promote child participation through the involvement of children and youth in disaster risk reduction forums and debates. In the area of emergency preparedness, UNICEF will work towards strengthening response capacity and will also collaborate in an inter-agency contingency planning process.

    2014 Results: During 2014, UNICEF supported 46 pre-school groups, primarily in Eastern Abkhazia. The teachers of these pre-school groups were provided with additional knowledge and skills in early childhood development and teaching methodologies. In WASH, infrastructure repairs were carried out in 15 schools in the Gali district in Eastern Abkhazia, and training on safe hygiene practices was provided to teachers of these schools. About 1,000 pupils, teachers and staff of the targeted schools benefitted from these activities. All interventions were supported through UNICEF’s global emergency thematic funds.

  • Kyrgyzstan

    More than one million children in Kyrgyzstan are living in poverty and continue to face social insecurity, poor access to quality services and protection and are particularly vulnerable to disasters. The recent 5.2 magnitude earthquake in the Northern Kyrgyzstan resulted in some damage to houses and schools. Ongoing tensions along the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan border, as well as competition over water and land resources along the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border have left the local population, especially children, increasingly vulnerable. The situation in the border area has also been hampered by the in-country tensions between different ethnic groups that greatly influence children and diminish the peace building and reconciliation work conducted in the south. Moreover, the ongoing withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan may have a negative impact on the security situation in the region, triggering a large refugee influx including into Kyrgyzstan.

    2015 Planned Results: In line with its child-focused approach, UNICEF will continue to strengthen the capacities of the Government and other partners in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction, with a particular focus on social sectors. UNICEF will in particular: (1) support the development of the Disaster Resilient School Network that will involve 100 schools and serve as an important resource for promoting knowledge- and awareness-raising on school safety practices in the country; (2) support scaling-up of a disaster risk analysis tool in ten districts in the country to enable local authorities to better analyse disaster risks, as well as to develop DRR action plans to address vulnerabilities, especially those of children; and (3) support strengthening of preparedness capacities in education and health sectors by introducing Humanitarian Performance Monitoring (HPM) standards, including response indicators and targets, for enhanced emergency response.

    2014 Results: UNICEF Kyrgyzstan received US$220,000 from the DFID-funded joint global initiative of UNICEF and WFP on strengthening humanitarian preparedness. This enabled the CO to strengthen its preparedness and develop the capacity of UNICEF partners on emergency preparedness and CCCs, including civil society organizations, government stakeholders and media. Sectoral preparedness was also enhanced through the contingency planning of the education and WASH sectors and supplies procurement in health and child protection. These enabled more efficient preparedness and humanitarian action of UNICEF and its partners. Significant efforts were made to introduce the humanitarian performance monitoring system within UNICEF areas of work that is now being integrated into the sector and inter-agency contingency plans. Actual preparedness and response capacity of UNICEF and the disaster response coordination mechanism on rapid needs assessment were tested through the cross-border simulation exercise, involving humanitarian partners and the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Specific lessons learned and recommendations, as well as action plans developed, will help to further strengthen inter-agency disaster preparedness and the response mechanism.

    Regular programme funds were also used to increase equity and deliver interventions in health, education, child protection, DRR and WASH. In health, the capacity of services was improved through strengthening the skills of over 200 medical workers in diarrhoea management, while eight health kits were prepositioned to serve up to 4,000 children with diarrhoea in emergencies. The health sector was also supported through the development of an Action Plan on Nutrition in Emergencies and a training module for medical and community workers, as well as on the level of preparedness in terms of health supplies procurement. In education, UNICEF’s work resulted in better preparedness through an education-in-emergency national action plan development and sector-specific preparedness plan, including DRR education for more than 10,000 children, teachers and parents. Due to intensive capacity-building efforts for social workers and other governmental staff through various workshops and mentoring provided by partners, the coverage and quality of protection and support services for children and youth was enhanced. UNICEF is also working to continuously strengthen outreach support mechanisms to prevent family separation, especially in emergencies.

  • Montenegro

    2015 Planned Results: Upon availability of funds, UNICEF plans to extend cooperation with the Directorate for Emergency Situations in the area of DRR covering selected pre-school institutions. UNICEF will support the Directorate in conducting further risk assessments and preparing response plans in five kindergartens in five different cities in Montenegro. Once the risk assessments and response plans are completed, the plans will be tested through practical drill exercises and improved based on the lessons learned. The risk assessments and corresponding plans will serve as models for other pre-school institutions. The programme interventions will involve the Ministry of Education and representatives of respective pre-school institutions, local communities, parents and children. UNICEF will also support, together with UNDP, the establishment of a DRR National Platform.

    2014 Results: UNICEF continued its cooperation with the Directorate for Emergency Situations in disaster risk reduction, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable children. Using national methodology and standards, the Directorate conducted risk assessments and prepared response plans for four childcare institutions, where children stay on a residential basis. A risk-assessment and response plan was prepared for the municipality of Berane with an emphasis on local Roma settlements. All response plans were tested through practical drill exercises where children and staff were evacuated from childcare institutions in line with procedures defined in the plans. This programme intervention involved the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Education, and local authorities in Berane municipality, UNDP, representatives of respective child care institutions, parents, and children. The activities were funded by UNICEF’s set-aside funds.

  • Serbia

    Serbia is prone to natural disasters, with floods and landslides occurring almost every year in the spring and autumn – particularly in the central and east areas of Serbia and Vojvodina. The mountainous regions in the central, west and east part of the country are most prone to earthquakes. The May 2014 floods affected a total of 1.6 million people in 38 municipalities and cities, mostly located in central and western Serbia. A total of 31,879 people were evacuated and 34 lost their lives. The impact of floods was considerable for the poorest socio-economic strata. Some 12 per cent of the 1.6 million people affected were from vulnerable groups. The flooding and ensuing landslides caused houses, bridges and public buildings to be totally destroyed, both in urban and rural areas, and severe damage was done to agricultural land. Although the Government responded rapidly, the extent of the crisis required the involvement of external assistance and long-term recovery measures. The economic impact of the disaster was estimated at €1.7 billion – or some 3 per cent of the national GDP; damage and losses to health and education sectors were estimated at €5.7 million and €3.5 million respectively. The post-disaster needs were estimated at €1.346 million.

    2015 Planned Results: In order to further strengthen the emergency preparedness and risk reduction capacities in the country, UNICEF plans to support specific interventions in the sectors of health, education and child protection. In particular, UNICEF will (1) develop instructions for family disaster preparedness plans reaching some 50 per cent of households living in disaster-prone areas; (2) support 10 schools and five residential institutions in developing risk assessment and action plans; (3) introduce DRR elements into the education curriculum and teaching manuals, benefiting all primary schools (i.e. grades 1 to 8); (4) organize training of some 500 primary school teachers in applying DRR concepts in the curriculum; (5) organize the training of public health practitioners on the provision of psychosocial support in emergencies through 24 public health institutes; and (6) support health and education sectors to develop communication materials for emergencies.

    2014 Results: As a part of its response to the floods, UNICEF assisted 9,250 affected families with children through the provision of hygiene packages and 5,000 blankets. Psychosocial support and recreational activities were provided in collective centres for more than 700 children while parents were supported through counselling on how to deal with stress and care for young children. Furthermore, disaster awareness was increased for 120,000 parents and children in flood-affected areas; and in collective centres, on health, hygiene and nutrition. UNICEF also provided technical expertise for the elaboration and formulation of the water, sanitation and education components of the Recovery Needs Assessment. An estimated 7,780 flood-affected children (pre-school to grade 8) were supported to return to education through provision of school materials, such as textbooks, notebooks, workbooks and back packs. Flood-affected preschool institutions and schools were supported to resume their function through donations of equipment and supplies. Social welfare service providers were supported to intensify outreach work through the provision of vehicles and a specialised van for transporting children with disabilities. UNICEF supported its emergency response and recovery with US$1.5 million, including US$245,500 from CERF and US$198,000 collected through local fundraising efforts.

  • Tajikistan

    Located in a mountainous and seismic zone, Tajikistan is prone to natural disasters that occur nearly every year, including earthquakes, floods and mudflows. While most of these disasters are small in scale and have only localized impact, the effects on vulnerable children and their communities can be devastating. A recent example is the flash floods and mudslides that hit several districts of Kulyab zone, southeast of Tajikistan, on the 12th and 13th of April 2014, affecting 494 households, killing eight elderly people and eight children, and damaging two schools and health facilities. Tajikistan's long border with Afghanistan makes it vulnerable to the effects of conflict and instability taking place there, while tensions in the Fergana Valley are a threat in the north. The ISAF troop draw-down in Afghanistan may have an impact on Tajikistan, either through an influx of refugees or in terms of increased insecurity due to a spill-over of instability. Given Tajikistan’s strong economic linkage with the Russian Federation, the depreciation of the Russian ruble and the general economic decline is felt strongly in Tajikistan. The dependency of Tajikistan on remittances from Russia and the structure of Tajikistan’s economy suggest that people in Tajikistan, especially children, women and the most marginalised groups, will experience more economic hardship in 2015. Furthermore, according to some anecdotal evidence, the decreasing number of Tajikistan labour migrants in Russia and increasing number of returning migrants might put additional social pressure on the country.

    2015 Planned Results: UNICEF will further scale up its humanitarian preparedness efforts and will continue to respond to disasters when they hit. UNICEF will also continue to work on disaster risk reduction in the nutrition, health, WASH, child protection and education sectors. In particular, focus will be on: (1) further strengthening capacity and coordination to respond to disasters, ensuring children’s continued access to essential health and nutrition, protection, education and water and sanitation services; (2) capacity-building of stakeholders, including government officials, in emergency preparedness and response; and (3) replenishing the emergency supply stockpile.

    2014 Results: In 2014, UNICEF Tajikistan received US$200,000 from the global initiative on Strengthening Humanitarian Preparedness in High Risk Countries, funded by DFID. This funding provided a unique opportunity to increase preparedness endeavours and improve response capacities of UNICEF and its partners. Significant efforts have been made with regard to the development of sectoral contingency plans on education and WASH; the development of a HPM mechanism; conclusion of standby Project Cooperation Agreements; capacity building of UNICEF staff and partners on emergency preparedness in line with the CCCs; and simulation exercises involving all humanitarian partners. In response to the April flash floods and mudslides, UNICEF in collaboration with the Tajik National University built the capacity of local service providers (schoolteachers) to provide psychosocial support to children who are at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder in Shurabad district.

  • Turkey

    Turkey is currently hosting nearly 1,000,000 registered Syrian refugees (with estimates that there are upwards of 1,600,000 Syrian refugees in total), with the vast majority living in host communities throughout the country and others residing in 22 camps. Turkey also hosts large numbers of other refugees from countries in the region including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. An additional risk of seismic activity is extremely high, with 92 per cent of the country prone to earthquakes, making earthquakes the most prevalent and dangerous hazard in the country. In the last decade, five earthquakes significantly affected urban areas in Turkey.

    2015 Planned Results: UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Turkey in responding to the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugee children in the country. Building on the collaboration with the Government since the onset of refugee crisis, UNICEF will prioritize interventions in the areas of education, child protection, health, nutrition and WASH, reaching children both in refugee camps and in host communities. UNICEF will continue to focus on improving access to and the quality and inclusiveness of education and care, including ensuring sustained access to formal and alternative education programmes, as reflected in the Ministry of Education’s education circular and as translated in provincial road maps for refugee children, adolescents and youth in camps and urban areas. These interventions will enhance the quality of education delivered through safe and inclusive learning environments to Syrian refugees, and improve access to psychosocial support for children with expansion to address child labour and violence. UNICEF will focus its interventions for Syrians living in the host communities by expanding and supporting already stretched government services in education and psychosocial support while continuing existing support to schools and child-friendly spaces in camps. Particular attention will be given to expanding programme support and services to both Syrian children in Turkey and Turkish children affected by the crisis, focusing on the resilience and inclusion of at-risk groups, including ethnic minorities and children with disabilities. Further details on UNICEF’s humanitarian response to the Syrian refugees in Turkey are available in the Syrian Regional Refugee Response and Resilience Plan.

    UNICEF will develop knowledge products based on lessons learned from the experience in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis in partnership with the Turkish Government firmly in the driving seat, to further expand efforts to advance children’s rights, close equity gaps and protect children in situations of humanitarian crisis – not only in Turkey but within the region and globally. In the area of child-focused humanitarian action, UNICEF will work with government partners, especially the Turkish Emergency and Disaster Management Presidency (AFAD), to identify expertise and alliances that can be made available to help fulfil and protect children’s rights in emergencies. In 2015, UNICEF will engage with the government on a number of initiatives, including discussing modalities of a potential standby partnership to support UNICEF’s emergency response globally; documenting and sharing knowledge and good practices in disaster risk management and school safety; and contributing to a child- and gender-sensitive focus in the World Humanitarian Summit, which will take place in Istanbul in May 2016. Specific training programmes will also be implemented to further enhance the capacities of AFAD and the Turkish Red Crescent in terms of humanitarian response.

    2014 Results: As the conflict in Syria intensified during 2014, the Turkish Government expanded its humanitarian response to provide support for the increasing numbers of Syrian refugees living not only in the camps but also in host communities. Throughout the year, UNICEF proactively supported the Government in scaling-up interventions in close collaboration with AFAD and TRC. In particular, UNICEF enabled 112,990 children to continue schooling or return to school through support to the Ministry of National Education and to schools in the camps and host communities; 851,812 Syrian and Turkish children were vaccinated against polio; 37,542 children accessed psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces in camps and host communities; 192,820 children received micronutrient supplementation; and 31 schools were constructed or supported through supplies/refurbishment to expand educational facilities for Syrian children.

    Through its partnership with AFAD, UNICEF also: (1) implemented capacity development interventions to develop the knowledge and skills of partner agencies in responding to children’s issues in emergencies; (2) provided ongoing training on child protection in emergencies to 174 personnel (56 AFAD staff; 30 NGO staff; 52 camp managers; 21 Turkish Red Crescent Society staff; and 11 Regional Elite Search and Rescue Teams’ Directors of AFAD), as part of the expanding partnership with the Government of Turkey on humanitarian action; and (3) supported a pilot initiative with AFAD to procure three disaster risk reduction mobile units to educate children on the risks of disaster situations and how to respond to them. In addition, at UNICEF’s global conference on Strengthening Humanitarian Action held in Istanbul in August 2014, AFAD shared its expertise and experience in child-friendly humanitarian action as a contribution to shaping UNICEF’s enhanced programming and global impact in emergencies.

  • Turkmenistan

    Almost the entire population of Turkmenistan lives in high seismic risk zones. Two primary seismic zones lie under the Turkmenbashy city and Ashkhabad city areas. Floods are common in the watersheds of the Atrek and Siraks Rivers, particularly where the Siraks borders Iran.

    2015 Planned Results: Within the framework of the regional DRR programme funded by the European Commission, UNICEF will continue to support the Government in advancing disaster risk reduction in the country. UNICEF will: (1) organize a national dialogue to advocate for and share good practices and experiences for the promotion of child participation in disaster risk reduction; (2) support a review of the current national education curriculum to identify ways to integrate DRR concepts into different subjects; and (3) build upon teachers’ capacities in delivering DRR lessons to children through the development of specialized courses for the national pedagogical institute and the national institute of education. Building on work conducted in previous years, UNICEF will also support the establishment of two schools as centres of excellence to promote strong approaches to school-based disaster risk management in the country.

    Results from 2014: UNICEF advocated for political commitment and actions in DRR, including support for the Government’s participation at the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR in June 2014 in Bangkok. As part of its focus on equity, UNICEF also promoted including elements of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the design and implementation of DRR activities. These interventions aimed to reach children with disabilities, especially those who are ‘silently institutionalised’ at home. UNICEF worked with partner networks to spread information and best practices to parents and care givers to empower them to better protect their children with disabilities. For those in schools and kindergartens, the focus has been on the promotion of a safe environment (within the Child Friendly Space framework) through awareness-raising and capacity-building of teachers, school management, and with education authorities on safety and accessibility of educational facilities.

  • Uzbekistan

    Given its geographic location, Uzbekistan is highly susceptible to disasters, especially major earthquakes that have a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods.

    2015 Planned Results: Within the framework of the EC-funded DRR regional programme, UNICEF will promote the participation of children and youth in DRR activities implemented in the selected regions of the country; support will be provided to the Government in developing and documenting approaches and good practices on school safety. Together with relevant partners, UNICEF will also review the existing school safety assessment tool and school-based disaster management methodology. The review process will include identifying the most vulnerable groups, including children with disabilities. UNICEF will also support the Government in reviewing, adapting and piloting a sub-national disaster risk analysis tool, with an aim to identify the most vulnerable boys and girls within the context of emergencies. Results will enable the Government and its partners to develop specific strategies to strengthen preparedness for the most vulnerable children, including those with disabilities. In terms of emergency preparedness, UNICEF will pre-position emergency relief stocks on the basis of recommendations emanating from the comprehensive emergency supply review conducted in 2014. UNICEF will also continue to support the implementation of follow-up actions identified in the inter-agency contingency plan updated in late 2014.

    2014 Results: Thanks to the funds available through the global DFID grant, UNICEF supported capacity building in emergency preparedness for staff as well as for UN agencies and partner organizations in the country. In collaboration with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, an inter-agency simulation exercise was organized in September 2014. The simulation was followed by a workshop looking at lessons learned, which helped in identifying gaps in response mechanisms as well as recommendations for strengthening partnership and coordination mechanisms involving the humanitarian country team in Uzbekistan. Regarding its own preparedness planning, UNICEF developed the HPM tools for efficient monitoring of roles and resources, the implementation of response, and the quality of interventions in the event of an emergency.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$6,245,000 for regional- and country-level activities in humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction in 2015. Of this, US$1,450,000 is required for activities led by the Regional Office and US$4,795,000 for those undertaken by 12 Country Offices. The RO funding may also be used to respond to situations in the region that are not specifically included in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2015 and may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals to respond to small- or medium-size emergencies.

In addition to the above, there are additional funding requirements for Ukraine and Turkey, which are reflected in the stand-alone Ukraine chapter (US$13.5 million) and in the multi-country chapter summarizing UNICEF Turkey’s component of the Syria Regional Refugee and Recovery Response Plan (US$60 million).