Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

The Middle East and North Africa region remains plagued by emergencies, resulting from man-made and natural disasters, while the provision of humanitarian assistance has become increasingly dangerous. Iraq continues to be characterized by violence, absence of law and order, and extreme difficulty for humanitarian actors. Internal violence has displaced more than 360,000 people and forced 1.2 million to leave the country since 2003. The war in Lebanon resulted in huge damages to national infrastructure, many lost lives (one third of them children), the relocation of more than a fifth of the population, and their return to severely destroyed areas of origin. The use and persistent presence of cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance represent a major threat. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) remains tense, with the election of Hamas, restrictions on funding and access as well as continued closures of infrastructure causing political tensions and affecting children’s right to education, to play and to health and nutrition. In the Sudan, despite massive mobilization of humanitarian assistance for Darfur, the situation is extremely tenuous with 4 million people affected, 2 million displaced and the United Nations and the Government unable to agree on how to protect civilians. Humanitarian agencies are operating under difficult and dangerous conditions. In South Sudan insecurity and the lack of basic services are of concern for the large number of displaced persons and refugees.

In addition, children and women are constantly at risk of natural disasters with countries such as Djibouti, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Sudan – and to a lesser extent Algeria, Morocco and Yemen – often victims of floods, drought and earthquakes. Equally alarming are the Avian Influenza outbreaks reported in Djibouti, Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2007

Emergency preparedness and capacity-building: The UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENARO) will expand the early warning/early action system; support countries most volatile/at risk, such as Iraq, Lebanon, oPt, the Sudan and Yemen, to improve advanced response planning at sub-regional and sub-national levels and within inter-agency context and cluster approach; support review of national partners’ capacity and establish/reinforce existing partners/coordination networks; support Country Offices in other at-risk countries, such as Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic, to improve response planning within an inter-agency context; focus on operational preparedness in supply/logistics, telecommunications and security; use simulation tool to build Country Office capacity for rapid and coordinated response. 

Emergency response: MENARO will ensure Country Office capacity in at-risk countries to rapidly assist at least 50,000 affected people at the onset of crises; pre-position limited supplies to enhance Country Office response; expand MENARO’s roster to strengthen regional ‘surge capacity’ mechanism for fast deployment of experienced staff, particularly in cluster leadership sectors; increase capacity to implement emergency operations safely and securely adhering to UN/UNICEF security policy guidelines; operate within the framework of United Nations Security Management System; coordinate fully with UN field security and designated officials; support performance monitoring and assist Country Offices in crises to maintain/develop evidence-based indicators for advocacy and impact review; compile/review lessons learnt and evaluations, and enhance use of recommendations.

Building partnerships and coordination: MENARO will forge strong partnerships with national/regional bodies and partners to undertake joint training of staff in emergency response; continue to support set-up and regular coordination of efforts through regional inter-agency network on emergency preparedness and response, through joint missions, sharing of information, and joint training/contingency planning; produce a programme concept note on how to best partner and implement programme activities with/through adolescents in crises and conflicts.

Regional Office financial needs for 2007 (staff costs included)

Sector

US$

Emergency preparedness and capacity-building

150,000

Emergency response

350,000

Building partnerships and coordination

100,000

Total*

600,000


 * The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.

© UNICEF Syria/2006/0995/Al Azmeh