Latin America and the Caribbean Region 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. Return to main appeal page.
- Before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Latin America and the Caribbean region was facing concurrent humanitarian crises, with 23 million people in need of assistance. The pandemic has led to rising unemployment and other impacts that could push millions into poverty, many of whom will rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.
- In 21 countries and territories, UNICEF will protect the most vulnerable children, families and communities from exposure to COVID-19 and its impacts. At the regional level, UNICEF will provide technical assistance to country offices, building preparedness capacities at all levels and ensuring linkages between humanitarian and resilience efforts.
- UNICEF is requesting US$48.9 million to address COVID-19-related humanitarian needs (US$36.5 million) and support overall emergency preparedness and response (US$12.4 million). Priorities include the safe return to school; the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; and support for health systems. Seventeen independent states and four territories are directly covered by this regional appeal.
700,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition
5 million children need immunization services
60.9 million children have limited / no hygiene service at school
138 million children affected by school closures (COVID-19)
Funding requirements for 2021
Regional needs and strategy
Protracted crises and rapid-onset emergencies, compounded by COVID-19, are impacting the well-being of millions of children across Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to the pandemic, the region was already facing concurrent crises, including the socio-economic and political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (7 million people in need of assistance); the Venezuelan migration crisis (6.2 million people in need of support);
12the economic, social and political crisis in Haiti (5.1 million people in need); and at least 5.2 million people in need of assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras due to poverty, climate shocks and violence. Between January and August 2020, over 733,000 people, including some 258,000 children, were affected by mid-/large-scale disasters in 13 countries, including the first tropical storms of the Caribbean hurricane season. Furthermore, 47.7 million people in the region live with hunger and 2.6 million children are facing crisis levels of food insecurity in Haiti and Central America. Nearly 21 million people lack access to basic drinking water and 83 million lack access to basic sanitation. Prior to COVID-19, 12 million children and adolescents were out of the education system. COVID-19 has exacerbated these ongoing situations, leading to greater needs and undermining national and local capacities. Due to border closures, some people are displaced within their countries, while many others have migrated through irregular borders. Thousands have been stranded in host countries, and are facing limited access to basic services and xenophobia. In a region with 14 countries among the 25 countries with the highest femicide rates globally, and where one out of two children under 15 years is subject to corporal punishment at home, pre-existing gender inequalities and gender-based violence trends, coupled with confinement, have led to increased violence against children and women.
The UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office will provide direct and remote support to country offices in the region to address the increasing number of complex crises affecting children. This support includes technical assistance, quality assurance and oversight to ensure timely and effective UNICEF humanitarian response in pursuit of the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs), including cross-cutting programming (i.e., on gender, early childhood development, adolescents and disabilities) in all country offices with an active humanitarian response to the impacts of COVID-19 and other humanitarian situations. The Regional Office will support country offices with human and financial resources in emergencies that may require an immediate response, but that are not large enough in scale to warrant a stand-alone country appeal. UNICEF will focus on ensuring solid capacities and resources for emergency preparedness at the regional and national levels — in compliance with UNICEF’s Minimum Preparedness Standards — to provide effective humanitarian coordination and collaboration with governments and other partners, mobilize surge capacity, supplies and partners, and implement cash-based interventions at the onset of an emergency. Emphasis will be placed on rolling out the revised CCCs. UNICEF will also invest in feedback, monitoring and reporting tools for partners and affected populations, and advocacy capacities at all levels. Across countries and sectors, UNICEF will work to ensure linkages between humanitarian action, development programming, climate change adaptation, risk management and resilience, including by developing UNICEF and partner capacities for disaster and climate risk assessments and risk-informed programming; supporting evidence generation to inform policies and advocacy; and fostering strategic positioning and partnerships. Grand Bargain commitments are mainstreamed across UNICEF’s strategies, including on localization, strengthening government and local actor capacities; reinforcing accountability to affected population mechanisms; and boosting the quality and impact of humanitarian cash transfers.
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 crises affecting children in Latin America and the Caribbean; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.