Middle East and North Africa 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.
- The Middle East and North Africa region is facing significant challenges. Some 32 million children, including 5.8 million refugee children and 6.8 million internally displaced children, are affected by conflict, protracted emergencies and the climate crisis.
- The UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office will continue to support the most vulnerable children and families with humanitarian assistance. In the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, UNICEF will reach 47 million people with risk communication messages and 2.8 million children with back-to-learning activities in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia.
- The humanitarian response will also improve accountability to crisis-affected communities, localize emergency response, prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and prioritize protection. Building shock-responsive systems and strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities will remain critical.
- UNICEF is requesting US$42.1 million to address humanitarian and COVID-19-specific needs in the region.
16 million people need nutrition services
49 million people need WASH services
24 million children need protection services
110 million children need access to school
Funding requirements for 2021
Regional needs and strategy
The Middle East and North Africa region is experiencing some of the most desperate situations in the world, with more than 32 million children in need of humanitarian assistance. In 2021, the region will account for one third of the very high severity crisis countries globally.
Conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs in the region and is exacerbating the needs of children and women. The scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs in the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen remain extensive after nine and five years of conflict, respectively. The deteriorating security situation in Libya andinstability in Iraq, Sudan and the State of Palestine have exposed children, particularly girls, to inordinate violence. The humanitarian situation in the region is further compounded by growing gender inequality and gender-based violence.
Humanitarian emergencies and extreme poverty are driving waves of internal and external displacement, with 5.8 million refugee children and 6.8 million internally displaced children in the region. Extreme poverty and violence push children to undertake dangerous journeys in pursuit of better educations and economic prospects. Sudan has one of the largest migrant populations in the subregion at over 1.2 million. Second to Sudan is Libya, with over 800,000 migrants. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled civil unrest and accelerated economic deterioration in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. The number of children living in monetary poverty is expected to grow by 7 million over the course of the year.
The Middle East and North Africa region is also confronting natural disasters, such as extreme flooding in Djibouti, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Sudan, as well as infectious disease outbreaks, including cholera outbreaks in Yemen. Climate change is fueling the spread of disease and the scale and frequency of natural disasters. The situation is further aggravated by significant water scarcity.
Humanitarian action is at the core of the UNICEF mandate to realize the rights of every child. In 2021, the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office will support the most vulnerable people, including women, children and persons with disabilities, with the assistance they need most during emergencies, while improving accountability to crisis-affected communities, localizing emergency response and promoting the centrality of protection.
In 2021, UNICEF will invest in building capacities to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized children by strengthening humanitarian coordination and efforts to analyse and prioritize humanitarian needs. Country offices will be supported to conduct sharper risk analysis and horizon scanning for better emergency preparedness.
UNICEF will review its humanitarian action to foster principled access and leadership, maximize equitable coverage and the quality of response in complex emergencies and roll out the revised Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action. Stronger collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will support the integration of refugee children into national systems and facilitate more systematic cluster coordination, with improved performance and more timely deployment.
Continued investment in strategic partnerships with local actors will improve the efficiency and appropriateness of humanitarian action, particularly in protracted emergencies. Better quality programming will be achieved through systematic consultations with communities and the integration of cross-cutting themes such as social and gender inclusion and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.
Building on the existing COVID-19 response, UNICEF will identify opportunities for building shock-responsive systems, strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities, and better linking humanitarian action and development programmes. UNICEF will also work with donors to demonstrate and document the benefits of flexible, multi-year humanitarian funding. Urgent but less visible needs will be addressed in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Oman.
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 the Middle East and North Africa; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.