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Map of Eastern and Southern Africa Region
UNICEF photo: an infant wrapped in a blanket looks at the camera © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene One-year-old Tasloch Char waits in his mother’s arms for his health checks and supplemental food at a visit community-based management nutrition programme initiative in Tierkidi camp in Gambela region of Ethiopia on 9 June 2016.

Eastern and Southern Africa

Regional Office 2017 Requirements: US$4,330,000

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One of the strongest El Niño events ever recorded has affected more than 51 million people and placed more than 26.5 million children at risk of malnutrition, water shortages and disease in 10 countries in the region.1 In 2016, more than 1 million children were targeted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM),2 and water shortages, protection concerns and the deterioration of basic social services remain key concerns. South Sudan's ongoing crisis has left 1.9 million people internally displaced since the conflict began in December 2013 and more than 1.1 million people are living as refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, as well as in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan.3 In Somalia, some 5 million people are food insecure. Burundi remains unstable, with more than 325,000 people having crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda since April 2015. Political tensions are growing in some areas, with general elections due in Angola, Kenya and Rwanda in 2017, which could trigger internal and cross-border displacement.4 A further deterioration in the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may also generate wider implications for the region. The annual rain and cyclone season expected in the first quarter of 2017 may cause displacement and heighten the risk of disease outbreaks, particularly cholera.

Regional humanitarian strategy

The Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) humanitarian strategy will focus on delivering results for children through sectoral responses in nutrition, health, child protection, education, HIV/AIDS, social protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). UNICEF will complement programmes with surge and technical support to crisis response, as well as humanitarian learning and logistical and operational support to ensure the timely and quality delivery of humanitarian action in line with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action. ESARO support will focus on the effective implementation of inter-agency regional strategies and initiatives through the Regional Interagency Standing Committee, Southern Africa (RIASCO) Plan of Acton, the South Sudan and Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plans, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Contingency Plan, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led Cholera Response Plan, the Joint Southern Africa Cholera Initiative and ongoing humanitarian responses to chronic crises such as in Somalia. Through inter-agency partnerships and collaboration, ESARO will seek to strengthen coordination and promote timely, quality and accountable humanitarian responses. Evidence gathering and continued engagement with the African Union, IGAD, the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative Steering Committee Resilience Analysis Unit, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will feed into regional and global policy briefs, with a focus on children and the promotion of child-friendly policies. Sectoral emergency preparedness and response training, coupled with improved risk analysis, will better prepare UNICEF country offices, governments and partners to manage multi-hazard disasters in the region. Risk-informed programming remains a key lens through which to strengthen UNICEF capacity to develop shock-resilient programmes.

Results in 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$5.4 million against the US$5.6 million appeal (96 per cent funded).5 In 2016, drawing on enhanced regional capacity, ESARO supported humanitarian preparedness and response in the region, including through technical support, oversight to plans and strategies and capacity building for emergency response in 15 countries facing multiple humanitarian situations, including the effects of El Niño in the Horn of Africa and southern Africa, conflict and refugee influxes. In 2016, UNICEF was able to effectively mount new humanitarian responses in seven southern African countries and support the scale-up of response efforts in Ethiopia and Somalia, in response to El Niño. ESARO capacity to respond to humanitarian situations was enhanced through the training of more than 120 staff members across the region. Significant investments were made in strengthening UNICEF engagement with regional bodies such as IGAD, SADC and RIASCO, including through the deployment of key personnel. ESARO contributed to both the IGAD-led Cholera Response Plan and the Joint Cholera Initiative for Southern Africa. ESARO also continued to support the Level 3 response in South Sudan to strengthen humanitarian action, including through programme and operational support to scale up the responses to the crises in Wau and Juba.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$4.3 million to meet the growing humanitarian needs of children in Eastern and Southern Africa. This funding will support urgent humanitarian action and ensure that the significant development progress achieved for children over the last few decades is not reversed. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support ongoing and evolving humanitarian action, which will limit the availability of expertise to provide technical guidance and thought leadership in the sectors of HIV/AIDS, nutrition, child protection, education, social protection, operations, logistics and WASH. Regional funding may also be used to respond to situations that are not included in a separate appeal of Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 and may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals to respond to small- or medium-scale emergencies.

1 Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, March 2016; Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, April 2016; United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘El Niño Eastern & Southern Africa Region Investment Case’, UNICEF, 16 July 2016, www.unicef.org/appeals/files/UNICEF_ESAR_El_Nino_Investment_Case_Humanitarian_Requirements_July_2016.pdf, accessed 28 November 2016.
2 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘El Niño Eastern & Southern Africa Region Investment Case’, UNICEF, 16 July 2016, www.unicef.org/appeals/files/UNICEF_ESAR_El_Nino_Investment_Case_Humanitarian_Requirements_July_2016.pdf, accessed 28 November 2016.
3 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘South Sudan Situation’ 31 October 2016, http://data.unhcr.org/SouthSudan/regional.php, accessed 28 November 2016.
4 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Burundi Situation: UNHCR Regional Update #30’, October 2016, http://reporting.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/UNHCR%20Regional%20Update%20-%20Burundi%20Situation%20-%20October%202016.pdf, accessed 28 November 2016.
5 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$4.3 million and the US$1.1 million carried forward from the previous year.