How UNICEF supports humanitarian action for children around the world.
Country-level humanitarian action is supported by a global architecture made up of UNICEF’s seven regional offices and 20 headquarters divisions. These offices provide the core infrastructure to support field preparedness and response to save lives, protect rights, reduce vulnerabilities to disasters and conflicts, support global and country coordination mechanisms and promote humanitarian partnerships.
UNICEF’s global support is coordinated by the Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS), the focal point for emergency preparedness and response, humanitarian policies, staff security and support to UNICEF's regional and country offices, as well as strategic coordination with external humanitarian partners both within and outside the United Nations system.
EMOPS leads efforts to ensure that UNICEF’s role in humanitarian crises is clearly defined, that the organization is properly equipped to fulfill that role, and that all levels of the organization are prepared to ensure the rights of all children including those affected by humanitarian crises. The division also coordinates headquarters support to country and regional offices dealing with emergencies. HQ divisions, along with EMOPS, provide the core infrastructure to support field preparedness and response to save lives, protect rights, reduce vulnerabilities to disasters and conflicts, support global and country coordination mechanisms, promote humanitarian partnerships and ensure the safety of personnel and assets.
In addition, EMOPS manages UNICEF’s Operations Centre (OPSCEN), which is a 24-hour, 7 days-a-week information gathering and dissemination hub. OPSCEN monitors humanitarian crises, political events and security-related incidents around the world with a view to ensuring the safety of staff and providing both field offices and senior decision-makers with critical information related to humanitarian emergencies.
The division is located in both New York and Geneva, which allows for systematic and strategic engagement with humanitarian partners and sister United Nations agencies.
In 2021, this support will cost US$93 million. UNICEF will cover 43 per cent of this cost through its core resources and will require US$53 million in flexible and multi-year funding to cover the remaining needs.
Global support to the field in 2020
In 2020, four Level 3 emergencies required organization-wide mobilization, including global resource mobilization: the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, protracted emergencies in the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, and the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Emergency Programmes also worked closely with UNICEF regional offices to coordinate support for three Level 2 emergencies: the complex humanitarian situations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and the Niger) and internal displacement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A key milestone in 2020 was the release of the revised Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) — UNICEF’s core policy for humanitarian action and a vital framework that guides and shapes the organization’s humanitarian response in complex and life-threatening environments. This new edition of the CCCs responds to a critical need: to provide timely and quality humanitarian support in the midst of fast-moving emergencies. It reaffirms key principles and standards that guide UNICEF humanitarian action and ensure that children are protected, that their dignity is respected, and that no child is left behind, even in the most adverse circumstances. The CCCs give every UNICEF country office and partner a consolidated and detailed framework to monitor the situation of women and children and take appropriate preparedness and response actions in the face of humanitarian needs.
UNICEF remains committed to establishing effective linkages between its humanitarian action and development programming, contributing to peacebuilding and supporting countries to strengthen capacities and systems. UNICEF will perform a critical enabling role to support countries to deploy new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for COVID-19 in 2021.
UNICEF will roll out the updated CCCs globally, across all country and regional offices, headquarters divisions and partners. The CCCs will be accompanied by advocacy, management, planning and training tools that managers, staff members and partners can use to meet the commitments in both humanitarian and development contexts. The CCCs will also inform UNICEF’s new strategic plan, annual work plans, emergency response plans, country programme documents, performance reports and partnerships with governments and civil society organizations.
UNICEF invested in its capacity to conduct forward-looking risk analysis with the development of the Horizon Scan process, which consolidates views from across the organization on emerging humanitarian situations requiring expanded preparedness and readiness actions. In 2021, UNICEF will continue to improve its ability to anticipate threats to children around the world and direct resources for stronger operational preparedness and response that saves lives and support long-term development goals.
Globally, UNICEF will continue to advocate for the implementation of World Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain commitments to help reduce fragmentation and increase efficiencies and synergies across the humanitarian system. This advocacy will focus on strengthening the linkages between humanitarian action and development programmes before and during crises.