UNICEF has always worked in emergencies, both natural and man-made. Originally called the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, the organisation was created to provide humanitarian assistance to children living in a world shattered by the Second World War. Much has changed since then, but UNICEF’s fundamental mission has not. Though emergencies grow increasingly complex, their impact ever more devastating, UNICEF remains dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to children affected by disasters, and to protecting their rights in any circumstances, no matter how difficult. In health and nutrition, water and sanitation, protection, education and HIV/AIDS, UNICEF’s Core Corporate Commitments to Children in Emergencies are more than a mission statement – they are a humanitarian imperative.
During emergencies, children are especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and violence. UNICEF works in collaboration with local and international partners, including governments, UN agencies, and civil society. These partnerships are crucial to ensuring comprehensive and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance. They also permit the diverse array of programmes necessary to address the full spectrum of children’s rights, a fact that is especially important in emergencies, when these rights are most under threat.