Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Response Appeal
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Read more about this year’s appeal here.
The coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) has triggered an unprecedented global health, humanitarian, socioeconomic and human rights crisis, which has spread to over 215 countries and territories, with over 580,000 reported deaths and 13 million confirmed cases (as of 16 July 2020).
The related economic crisis is pushing more and more people into extreme poverty and continues to put significant additional pressure on already overburdened social and health service delivery systems which threatens to reverse decades of hard-won development gains for children.
Ongoing lockdowns and other restrictions are exacerbating the vulnerabilities of children and their families globally.
Children continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted everything that we know is critical for children’s social, physical, mental and emotional development, learning and well-being.
Situation in numbers
2.1 billion people still lack access to safe water at home, while 3 billion people do not have a place in their homes to wash their hands
Nearly 1.19 billion students in 150 countries affected by school closures
80 million children in at least 68 countries may be at risk of diphtheria, measles and polio due to a decline in immunizations
369 million children have missed out on school meals
Funding requirements for 2020
With its dual humanitarian and development child rights mandate, and existing presence at the field, country and regional levels, UNICEF has a strong comparative advantage in its ability to address the scale of COVID-19 needs globally.
In humanitarian situations, UNICEF’s response is guided by the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action and inter-agency standards. UNICEF contributes to both outbreak control and mitigation of the collateral impacts of the pandemic, including interruptions to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education, protection and essential social services for children, women and vulnerable populations. The organization’s COVID-19 preparedness and response strategy aims to reduce human-to-human transmission in affected countries and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on children, youth and their care providers, especially for the most vulnerable. UNICEF’s strategy is in line with the WHO COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) global humanitarian response plan led by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
UNICEF works under the leadership of national governments and in close coordination with WHO, humanitarian country teams, United Nations country teams and civil society partners to protect children and their families from exposure to COVID-19 and minimize mortality. As a member of the IASC, UNICEF has initiated steps to ensure that implementing partners – including local civil society and national and international non-governmental organizations – have the flexibility needed to respond to COVID-19 and continue their important work. UNICEF has been organizing a series of webinars for non-governmental organization partners on UNICEF’s response to COVID-19 to ensure the continuity and strength of programming.
The coordination of the response relies on high-quality evaluative evidence, including real-time evidence, to ensure organizational learning and continuous improvement. Two approaches are emphasized at the global and decentralized levels: learning-focused evaluations for adaptive management; and summative evaluations to assess UNICEF’s overall response, including the results achieved for children. Summative evaluative exercises with sister United Nations agencies will also be prioritized to capture how the United Nations family is working together to achieve collective results.
UNICEF’s response to COVID-19 focuses on the following strategic priority areas:
- Public health response to reduce coronavirus transmission and mortality
- Continuity of health, HIV, nutrition, education, WASH, child protection, gender-based violence, social protection and other social services; assessing and responding to the immediate socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 response
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.