East Asia and the Pacific
2016 Requirements: US$8,101,600
East Asia and the Pacific is one of the most hazard-prone regions in the world. In recent years, a series of disasters and conflicts have affected the well-being and protection of vulnerable populations, particularly children. The combination of climate change, deforestation, population growth, urbanization and the unfolding El Niño phenomenon suggests that more frequent and intense disasters are likely to have a greater impact on a larger number of people in 2016. El Niño, which developed in 2015, has already affected a number of countries and is predicted to reach maximum strength in 2016. Furthermore, the possibility of the emergence of La Niña towards the end of the year may compound suffering in countries that have already experienced El Niño conditions. El Niño has led to irregular rainfall patterns, resulting in drought and severe flooding, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Pacific sub-region. As outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030, emergency preparedness and community resilience are therefore key priorities.1 In addition, internal armed conflicts and ethnic violence in Myanmar and the Philippines have resulted in the internal and/or cross-border displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, including children.2 The impact of these humanitarian crises has heavily strained families, communities and social systems, with children and women among the most vulnerable.
Regional humanitarian strategy
In response to monsoon-related floods, typhoons/cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and impact of El Niño as well as possible emergence of La Niña phenomena, which may have lasting effects into 2017, the East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) will continue to provide support in line with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, particularly in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, education and child protection. In line with its focus on equity, UNICEF will reach out to the most vulnerable children and their families, including boys and girls with disabilities, migrant households and ethnic minorities, to fulfil their basic rights in humanitarian action. Through the Regional Office and the 14 country offices, UNICEF will complement government emergency preparedness and response efforts in a tailor-made fashion that will focus on service delivery and/or technical cooperation, depending and building on existing government capacities. Acknowledging that various national governments have gained considerable capacity in emergency response, UNICEF increasingly relies on regional support mechanisms with quality assurance to service multiple countries by pooling resources. Building on the Sendai Framework and the World Humanitarian Summit regional consultations, UNICEF will work on all aspects of DRR, including both natural hazards and conflicts, to reduce the vulnerability of children and build community resilience. In particular, technical support provided to governments via country offices will focus on enhancing emergency preparedness and response through the operationalization of child-centred risk assessment, preparedness systems and humanitarian performance monitoring, with further alignment of humanitarian and development programmes. With monsoons occurring annually, UNICEF remains focused on increasing investment in preparedness to reduce loss of life and avoid human suffering. UNICEF will also continue to strengthen humanitarian partnerships with regional and sub-regional actors, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Regional Network, ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative and climate change adaptation initiatives for WASH, in close collaboration with governments in the region. Finally, UNICEF will continue to build regional knowledge management capacity by documenting best practices and lessons learned in emergency preparedness and response and supporting in-depth studies and research on emerging topics in humanitarian action, such as cash transfer in emergencies.
Results to date
As of 30 June 2016, UNICEF has received US$5,483,770 against the 2016 HAC chapter for El Niño-related emergency response, including for Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. These funds have enabled EAPRO to deliver efficient and effective responses to humanitarian crises and further invest in emergency preparedness and DRR to better support partners and country offices. For instance, 216,000 people, including children, are being reached with provision of safe and clean water in support of the Government of Vietnam’s ongoing efforts to respond to El Niño. EAPRO has developed a regional El Niño preparedness and response overview, and has been advocating for Governments’ and partners’ early intervention, particularly in WASH and nutrition, to support the most vulnerable families. An innovative partnership with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency enhanced capacity for UNICEF DRR and emergency preparedness activities in Cambodia, the Pacific sub-region and the Regional Office through the deployment of surge staff, which contributed to the El Niño preparedness with governments and partners at country level. Although various governments in the region have developed considerable capacity in emergency response, some countries are likely to continue to request sector-specific humanitarian support from UNICEF to complement their relief efforts relating to El Niño, and possibly La Niña, in the coming months.
EAPRO’s revised appeal of US$8,101,600 includes US$3,892,000 to step up the response to El Niño, and prepare for possible La Niña, situations elsewhere in the region. Planned regional activities in resilience building, DRR, emergency preparedness and response will continue. Countries that do not have inter-agency appeals nor separate chapters in Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 will benefit from this regional chapter to quickly respond to small- or medium-scale emergencies. The funding is critical to provide emergency response capacity throughout the region, as well as to strengthen the technical and coordination capacity of country offices and their national partners to support children affected by emergencies, especially in sectors where UNICEF has cluster-lead responsibility.
* The carry-forward figure is the unutilized budget balance that was carried forward from the prior year to the current year, available as of 1 January 2016.
** Total funding available includes total funds received against current appeal plus carry-forward.
*** Received funds include all funds received through 30 June 2016 for El Niño response.
1 United Nations, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2013, http://www.preventionweb.net/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf, accessed 25 November 2015.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan’, OCHA, 2015, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/2015%20Myanmar%20Humanitarian%20Response%20Plan_0.pdf, accessed 10 December 2015; and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin’, Issue 10, OCHA, 1-31 October 2015, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/OCHAPhilippines%2520Humanitarian%2520Bulletin%2520No10%2520%28October%25202015%29%2520FINAL.pdf, accessed 10 December 2015.