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Map of the Europe and Central Asia region
UNICEF photo: a group of adolescents gather around a table © UNICEF/Geo-2013/Khizanishvili Adolescents participating in one of the 10 summer camps organized by UNICEF and the Disaster Risk Reduction Center of the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia.

Europe and Central Asia

Regional Office 2017 Requirements: US$4,500,000

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In 2017, children in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) will face continued risks related to armed conflicts, economic stagnation and political and social instability. In eastern Ukraine, children are facing the consequences of a three-year conflict that is overwhelming social services and protection systems. In Turkey, unprecedented numbers of refugee, migrant and other highly vulnerable children are challenging the capacities of government services. Across Europe, refugee and migrant children require special protection.1 The region includes some of the highest seismic risk urban centres in the world and flooding and out-of-season glacial melting can quickly overwhelm national capacities and become disasters.2 Recent reports highlight that economic growth has slowed to a two-decade low in the Caucasus and Central Asia sub-regions, owing to the large and sustained decline in commodity prices and wide-ranging spill overs from the recession in Russia.3 High HIV prevalence, the ongoing risk of infectious disease outbreaks (such as polio and measles), malnutrition, inadequate access to safe water and challenges related to child development, gender equality and protection also contribute to vulnerability, which is in turn heightened during periods of crisis.4

Regional humanitarian strategy

In 2017, the ECA Regional Office will build on 2016 results and strengthen country office capacities for predictable early action by pre-positioning emergency supplies in countries at higher risk, maintaining rapid emergency staff deployment plans in coordination with global surge facilities, and training staff on new global preparedness standards. The gender dimensions of vulnerability will be further integrated into preparedness planning, as will risk-informed country programme design, technical capacity for conflict-sensitive programming and peacebuilding. The Regional Office will also further advance child-centred disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities. Programming to address needs of children in ‘frozen conflict’ situations will remain a priority. Disaster risk analysis will be supported as a tool for child-centred urban planning and community development, particularly in the seven higher-risk countries in the Central Asia and South Caucasus sub-regions. Cash-based response approaches will be piloted in two countries to form a basis for expanded programming. The roll out of new gender-based-violence-in-emergencies tools will take place in Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine. Country offices will receive training on emergency supply and logistics management as well as the Multi-cluster Initial Rapid Assessment. Recalling the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, lessons learned from the refugee/migrant crisis in Europe will continue to influence ongoing preparedness and response planning. Emergency preparedness monitoring systems will be strengthened through a regional multi-sectoral team along with out-posted technical staff in the regional bureaus in Istanbul, Turkey, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Humanitarian partnerships will be advanced with the governments of Turkey and Kazakhstan; strategic links will be maintained with United Nations agencies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); and cross-regional coordination will be strengthened with UNICEF regional offices covering the Middle East, Africa and north-west Asia.

Results in 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$1.9 million against the US$2.6 million appeal (73 per cent funded).5 The ECA Regional Office trained country office staff and partners in emergency preparedness and response in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Kosovo,6 the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Regional Office support missions bolstered emergency readiness in Armenia and Azerbaijan immediately following armed clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh area in April; strengthened field presence strategies in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine in July; and triggered expanded partnership strategies to assist vulnerable refugee children in Turkey in September. The Regional Office facilitated the development of a multi-country emergency preparedness strategy with IFRC and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and jointly facilitated the first regional earthquake preparedness planning meeting with regional United Nations and non-governmental organization partners in June. UNICEF presented good practice from disaster risk reduction education programmes at two regional inter-governmental disaster risk reduction platform meetings and the all-Asia meeting in New Delhi. The quality and rigour of the disaster risk analysis model was complemented by the development of quality standards and benchmarks.

Funding requirements

For 2017, UNICEF is requesting US$4.5 million to support emergency preparedness and response and advance programmes in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and conflict sensitivity and peacebuilding initiatives in ECA. The requirements reflect the multiple risks faced and uncertainty over potential new crises in the region, and the increasing regional capacity to support country-level humanitarian action. Funding may also be used to respond to situations in the region that are not specifically included in Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 and may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals to respond to small- or medium-scale emergencies.

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1 See separate Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 appeals for Ukraine; Syrian Refugees; and the Refugee and migrant crisis in Europe
2 See Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program, April 2015; and German Development Cooperation, ‘Balkan Green Energy News’, January 2016.
3 International Monetary Fund, Regional Economic Outlook Update: Middle East and Central Asia, April 2016.
4 Recel, Bernd, et al., Trends in Health Systems in the Former Soviet Countries, WHO, 2014.
5 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$1.4 million and US$500,000 carried forward from the previous year.
6 All references to Kosovo in Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).