Latin America and the Caribbean
2013 requirements (US$)
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions of the world that is most vulnerable to a diversity of hazards that have in part been intensified by climate change. They include hurricanes in Central America and the Caribbean; torrential rains and flash flooding across the continent; prolonged droughts in Central America and the Gran Chaco region of South America; cold waves in mountainous areas; large-scale fires in South America; and volcanic activity and earthquakes along the Pacific Coast and in the Caribbean. These disasters result in forced displacements and expose children to an increased risk of exploitation and abuse.
In 2012, the region again suffered a series of disasters. Hurricane Sandy impacted millions of people in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. Both Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac furthered the vulnerability of those living in camps in Haiti, where the population is still struggling to recover from the earthquake and cholera epidemic of 2010. In November, Guatemala was affected by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that left dozens dead.
In Colombia, although tensions between the national army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas remained high during the first part of the year, especially in the departments of Cauca, Putumayo and Chocó, peace talks resulted in a ceasefire in November. Flooding in Colombia’s Putumayo region in July and August impacted vulnerable populations, including indigenous people. Floods also hit the Loreto region of Peru early in the year. Meanwhile, Paraguay experienced dual emergencies: cyclical drought due to the effects of La Niña as well as flooding affecting 13,000 families, mostly within indigenous communities in the Paraguayan Chaco.
Planned results for 2013
Results from 2012
Emergency preparedness and response: Together with its regional REDLAC partners, TACRO continued to support country offices and their national counterparts in improving preparedness and coordination, and supported UNICEF’s response to emergencies throughout the region. Support continued to be given in the form of direct technical assistance and joint missions with REDLAC partners to review preparedness and response support. TACRO worked to ensure the completion of country offices’ Early Warning, Early Action systems, and strengthened the capacity of sectoral focal points and government partners through regional WASH, education and protection training. In November 2012, TACRO, in cooperation with the Panama country office, REDLAC agencies and the Government of Panama, organized the first regional simulation training, ensuring the presence of 20 country office emergency focal points.
Disaster risk reduction (DRR): TACRO finalized a study on the impact of disasters on the region’s children, the multi-sectoral effects in the medium to long term and priority areas to strengthen children’s resilience. Eighteen best practices have been selected from among 72 DRR projects to be promoted in the region. For instance, Brazil, with the support of UNICEF, launched a national protocol for children in humanitarian situations inspired by the CCCs. TACRO is planning to replicate this support to other countries. The regional team also formalized an inter-agency Regional Coalition for Children and DRR aimed at undertaking joint advocacy and coordination.
Education in emergencies (EiE): In the framework of ECHO’s Disaster Preparedness (DIPECHO) programme, DRR and EiE mechanisms have been strengthened in Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela through sectoral working groups, national education plans, and school safety indexes. In Central and South America, UNICEF focused on communication and advocacy. The REDLAC subgroup on EiE, composed of 14 agencies, supported the Panama Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector, signed by 18 Ministers of Education in October 2011.
UNICEF’s Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office (TACRO) works to reinforce the capacity of country offices, partners and national counterparts to respond to emergencies in accordance with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) and within the principles of Humanitarian Reform and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Transformative Agenda. UNICEF will work with partners belonging to REDLAC1 to ensure more focused, cost-effective, and coherent humanitarian work in the region, while building up emergency preparedness through inter-agency cooperation.
TACRO supports partners and national counterparts in building systems, communities and societies that can better resist, absorb, and recover from disasters. This includes a multi-sectoral approach to addressing issues relating to children’s and women’s well-being, including school preparedness and education about disasters and consequent risks; strong water and sanitation systems to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and post-crisis water-related diseases; surveillance, early detection and treatment of malnutrition in drought and disaster-prone areas; social cohesion and violence reduction; and prevention of and response to all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse of women and children in emergencies. This approach combines the strengthening of national capacities with the development of local capacities for disaster risk reduction.
UNICEF aims to strengthen and promote governments’ leadership of sectoral coordination in emergencies, including clusters when activated The regional office works to promote national humanitarian policies in line with the CCCs, while providing technical support and training to national counterparts for preparedness and response. A guide for governments on child-focused disaster risk reduction as well as a child-safety index (a child-focused vulnerability analysis tool) will be produced to support capacity-building with national authorities.
To promote the development of South–South and horizontal cooperation strategies, TACRO will foster collaboration on programmatic and operational areas among country offices, partners and governments both inside and outside the region. The regional office will also work with the private sector to identify strategies in support of emergency preparedness and response.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
TACRO’s humanitarian strategy must be flexible enough to support preparedness and response in a range of countries, including those with a very low response capacity and a high demand for operational and programmatic assistance, as well as a rising number of upper-middle-income countries requiring more targeted assistance. The regional office is appealing for US$1,600,000 to maintain this support to country offices while facilitating better inter-agency cooperation and strengthened disaster risk reduction. Funds may be used for countries in the region that are not included in a separate chapter in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 and that may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals responding to small or medium size emergencies.
1 Risk, Emergency, and Disaster Task Force Inter-Agency Workgroup for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Panama-based inter-agency coordination mechanism.