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ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1416/Khemka

Five of ten siblings stand inside their home in Darebagh Village, Afghanistan. Their mother died during childbirth. Because of ongoing conflict, 40 per cent of the country is not accessible to aid workers.

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN AND WOMEN

The Asia-Pacific region has an emergency profile characterized by a combination of natural disasters and civil/political unrest with pockets of conflict situations. In 2008 the Asia-Pacific region has been struck by two major natural disasters in China and Myanmar, and heavy floods have badly affected countries yearly hit by typhoons and cyclone seasons, devastating the lives of millions of people. The situations in conflict/war-torn and politically unstable countries seem nowhere near resolution, further increasing the number of internally displaced persons and general disruption to society. In addition to the structural threats, which are intrinsic to the region, Asia-Pacific is also affected by global threats, such as the consequences of high food and fuel prices and the risk of pandemic influenza and other emerging diseases.


PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2009

Technical Support for Emergency Preparedness and Response: The Emergency Unit of the UNICEF Asia-Pacific Shared Services Centre will continue to provide technical support to Country Offices to develop and update emergency preparedness and response plans so as to disseminate the revised version of the Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies and the emergency preparedness and response matrix (expected in 2009), contributing to further strengthen the capacity of UNICEF Country Offices and partners to maintain a high level of preparedness and respond effectively to ongoing humanitarian situations and sudden onset emergencies.

As part of enhancing the monitoring and evaluation component of emergency preparedness and response, primary emphasis will be placed on emergency data preparedness (identification of baseline and data gaps; development of rapid assessment tool) and secondly on DevInfo/Emergency Info activities (development of emergency baseline datasets and adaptation of rapid assessment formats for electronic data capture).

In the area of pandemic preparedness, the overall objective for 2009 is to expand the scope of programme communication to assist governments to develop communication strategies and plans for pandemic; and to build national capacity to respond to pandemic as well as other emerging diseases, while the narrower focus on highly pathogenic avian influenza/H5N1 will remain a priority in enzootic countries.

Strengthening of Regional Programming Support Capacities in Cluster Areas: In the framework of the UN reform, continuous support will be provided to UNICEF Country Offices and partners to enhance national and local humanitarian networks’ capacity to implement the cluster approach, including strengthened coordination and cluster-specific gap analysis, roll-out and training of tools and guidelines in the four clusters: nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection, for which UNICEF has taken the lead globally.

As part of the regional Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) network, the Emergency Unit will continue to advocate for regional coordination on humanitarian issues and support Country Offices to organize inter-agency events, aiming at developing cluster-specific plans for improved coordination and more predictable, efficient and effective responses.

Strengthening of Emergency Rapid Response Capacity of Country Offices for Sudden and New Emergencies: Direct assistance will be provided to Country Offices to respond to sudden and/or new emergencies through the deployment of general and/or cluster-specific emergency staff for initial humanitarian assessment and response support, and on an as-needed basis for related activities.

Asia-Pacific Region Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Technical Support for Emergency Preparedness and Response (emergency preparedness and response trainings, simulations, roll-out of the new revised Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies etc.) 260,000
Strengthening of Regional Programming Support Capacities in Cluster Areas 530,000
Strengthening of Emergency Rapid Response Capacity of
Country Offices for Sudden and New Emergencies
500,000
Total** 1,290,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** 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.