Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
© UNICEF DR/P.Guzaman//2004
Basic Commitments for Children
Since it was founded in 1946, UNICEF’s mandate has included providing response to humanitarian crises, with the aim of protecting boys, girls and women, while ensuring the application of international rules that regulate their rights and provide them with assistance. In partnership with several allies, UNICEF strives to ensure that the assistance being provided is in keeping with the needs, that it is responsible and efficient, and that it arrives on time.
In the last few years, emergency situations have occurred with increased frequency and growing complexity at a global level, posing new threats to children and their rights.
Based on their experiences with crises during the last few years, UNICEF has defined its Basic Commitments to Children in Emergency Situation (available only in Spanish), which includes humanitarian response, programmatic commitments and preparation and support for organisation in relation to emergency situations.
The Guiding Principles of UNICEF’s response indicate that:
1. Children in the midst of armed conflict and natural disasters such as drought, floods and earthquakes have the same needs and rights as children in stable countries.
2. Our response will recognize the priority of humanitarian action while assuring safe access to affected populations and safety and security of staff and assets.
3. The emergency response will build on existing activities and partnerships developed through the country programme of cooperation.
4. The response will be based on nationally defined priorities and UNICEF’s comparative advantage.
Our programmatic commitments are focused on health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, education and HIV/AIDS. Therefore, our operational commitments take into account aspects like security, fundraising and communications, human resources, information technology and telecommunications, provision of supplies, logistics, finance and administration.
All the organisation’s actions during crisis and emergency situations are carried out in consultation and partnership with allies and government bodies in each country.
A fundamental element of UNICEF’s emergency response is coordination with United Nations agencies, with the aim of putting humanitarian affairs mechanisms into action, with an Inter-Agency Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Plan. In the Dominican Republic a group called UNETE (United Nations Emergency Technical Team) has been set up, providing technical support in close coordination with the National Emergencies Committee.
In addition, as a fundamental basis for fulfilling the Basic Commitments for Children, each office has an emergency preparedness plan based on early warning analysis, which is updated every year and adjusted to the minimum security rules. Programmatic commitments are taken into account in this plan, along with the Inter-Agency Plan, as well as operational plans that are directly related to the situation in the country.