UNICEF is constantly monitoring the situation of children on the ground, and current assessments are paying particular attention to the unfolding impacts the financial crisis is having on various aspects of children’s lives. UNICEF is looking to adjust and augment our programming and support in areas such as health, nutrition, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, education and child protection. For already vulnerable families, humanitarian assistance will play a particularly important role in UNICEF operations.
While information on the impacts of the financial crisis is still being built, the organizational response to the recent food price instability gives an example of possible future actions. As a result of these price increases, UNICEF identified 45 countries where children were at severe risk and allocated over $50 million of our resources towards programmes to provide an immediate response to the crisis and enhance nutritional security.
UNICEF's programmatic work is highly relevant to protect vulnerable and disadvantaged populations from the impacts of the global economic recession and that UNICEF works together with partners to assess poverty and migration impacts, enhance social protection and to secure access to basic social services for children and women also through improved public budgets.
UNICEF is conducting economic and social policy research on the crisis, advocating for policy changes to protect children and providing governments with upstream policy advice and technical assistance. A key element of this work is the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, in which UNICEF works with over 50 countries to fill data gaps in monitoring the situation of women and children. We are working with national governments to ensure that budgets are child-friendly and that children are offered social protection to help ensure that their well-being is protected as internal and external financial flows become threatened.
With the full impacts of the crisis on children and possible policy responses still uncertain, UNICEF is conducting research on the crisis with partners to build a stronger knowledge base for informing upstream policy responses and implementing efficient programming. These research projects are underway at global, regional and country levels, resulting in various conferences and research products in the coming year.
Key facts about the global financial crisis
During the current economic crisis, investing in children and protecting children is more urgent than ever. Children suffer disproportionately during economic crises – they are not only more vulnerable to the shocks, but they are also least able to cope with the adverse side-effects. For example:
Ongoing work on the global financial crisis
Read UNICEF's working paper, Aggregate Shocks, Poor Households and Children: Transmission Channels and Policy Responses.
UNICEF's East Asia and Pacific Regional Office held a conference in Singapore on the impact of the economic crisis on children. Visit the conference website for information.
UNICEF and UNIFEM cohosted a side event in Doha, Qatar at the Financing for Development conference titled In Times of Crisis: Making Budgets Work for Children, Women and the Millennium Development Goals.
UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre created a discussion paper: Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A Review of the Literature.
The World Bank wrote a working paper titled Weathering the Storm: Economic Policy Responses to the Financial Crisis.