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Map of Middle East and North Africa Region
UNICEF photo: A boy, carrying books, walks amonst rubble © UNICEF MENA/2017/Al-Issa In January in the Syrian Arab Republic, a child carries safety manuals distributed by UNICEF.

Middle East and North Africa

Regional Office 2018 requirements: US$2,000,000

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Continuing violence, internal and external displacement, natural disasters, growing economic and gender inequality and high rates of youth unemployment and poverty in several countries have left some 72 million people, including 28 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance across the Middle East and North Africa region.1 Those in need require safe water and sanitation (47.3 million);2 education (21 million);3 health care (60 million);4 and protection services (55 million).5 Some 54 million people, including nearly 26 million children, live in the conflict-affected countries of Iraq, Libya, the State of Palestine, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. Civilian lives and key facilities – including for water, power, health and education – are subject to daily attacks in these countries, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, depriving already vulnerable people of access to their most basic needs. As family resources wane, children are forced into negative coping strategies such as child labour, early marriage and recruitment into armed forces and groups. The threat of polio resurgence and the risk of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera are also rising, particularly in hard-to-reach or besieged areas where needs are most acute. The situation is exacerbated by fragile or economically strained institutions, shrinking humanitarian space and donor fatigue.

Regional humanitarian strategy

The Middle East and North Africa region remains one of the most diverse and complex regions globally, with three ongoing Level 3 emergencies,6 and many countries facing protracted conflicts, as well as civil unrest and/or political transition. Given the number, severity and nature of crises in the region, the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office strategy, which encompasses both regional and sub-regional approaches, will provide efficient, effective and sustainable support to country offices to facilitate the delivery of timely results for children and to protect and promote children's rights. Countries will be supported to carry out resilience-focused and integrated humanitarian programming, as well as scaled-up responses, preparedness actions to mitigate and respond to risks, and enhanced cross-country learning. The Regional Office will provide consistent and value-added direct and remote operational support to all countries in the region by allocating programme and cross-cutting staff time and resources to technical assistance and quality assurance. The Regional Office will also influence ongoing humanitarian policy and system reforms, leverage additional commitments and resources for children, particularly by expanding non-traditional funding partnerships,7 and keep children at the forefront of future peace and reconstruction initiatives. Other areas of focus will include fostering collaboration between sections to facilitate programme synergies; enhancing evidence generation, data quality and the dissemination of strategic information so that humanitarian response reaches those most affected; and rolling out the new Emergency Preparedness Platform while building technical capacities for its implementation. The Regional Office emergency function will be restructured to provide forward-looking emergency preparedness planning and resilience support to all countries in the region using a modular approach that prioritizes based on risks, scale of humanitarian needs and internal capacity to deliver. The strategy includes generating and disseminating best practices and lessons learned from operations across the region and the collection and sharing of humanitarian data and analyses, in cooperation with internal and external stakeholders. Training on humanitarian policies, advocacy, law and principles will be strengthened for humanitarian staff across the region, with specific attention to risk-informed programming and engagement with non-state actors. UNICEF will also continue to support sub-regional initiatives such as the No Lost Generation initiative.

Results from 2017

As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$1.7 million available against the US$3.5 million appeal (48 per cent funded).8 The Regional Office provided support to country offices, particularly those responding to Level 3 emergencies and other protracted crises,9 covering the following areas: emergency preparedness;10 the review and implementation of contingency and response plans; the provision of regional contingency stocks;11 resource mobilization;12 capacity building; contribution management; performance monitoring; analysis of sub-regional issues and political and security developments; dissemination of regional best practices and lessons learned;13 and advocacy. The Regional Office scaled up its support where needed, given the increase in acute watery diarrhoea/suspected cholera cases in Iraq, the Sudan and Yemen; the emergence of vaccine-derived polio cases in the Syrian Arab Republic; and the urgent humanitarian needs of vulnerable internally and externally displaced persons in newly accessible areas in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$2,000,000 to provide technical support and coordination for emergency preparedness and response in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2018. This includes responses to Level 3 emergencies, as well as to small- or medium-scale emergencies that do not have a separate humanitarian appeal and may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals. This funding will ensure that emergency-prone countries are duly prepared to respond rapidly and establish resilience-building mechanisms and systems. Donor support in 2017 was critical, and in 2018, will enable UNICEF to address the humanitarian needs of vulnerable children and women in the region.

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1 This total is based on countries’ 2017 humanitarian needs overview documents, 2017 humanitarian response plans, 2017 September humanitarian situation report, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data portal for Syrian refugee figures, accessed on 12 November 2017.
2 This figure was calculated based on countries’ 2017 humanitarian needs overview documents and 2017 humanitarian response plans. This includes an estimated 14.9 million in the Syrian Arab Republic; 14.5 million in Yemen; 6.5 million in Iraq; 3.7 million in Lebanon; 3.5 million in the Sudan; 2 million in Jordan; 1.4 million in the State of Palestine; 500,000 in Libya; and 200,000 in Djibouti.
3 This figure was calculated based on countries’ 2017 humanitarian needs overview documents and 2017 humanitarian response plans. This includes an estimated 6.1 million in the Syrian Arab Republic; 3.6 million in Iraq; 3.4 million in Egypt; 2.3 million in Yemen; 1.7 million in the Sudan; 1.2 million in Lebanon; 1.1 million in Turkey; 500,000 in the State of Palestine; and 300,000 in Libya.
4 This figure was calculated based on countries’ 2017 humanitarian needs overview documents and 2017 humanitarian response plans. This includes an estimated 14.8 million in Yemen; 12.8 in the Syrian Arab Republic; 10.8 million in Turkey; 9.9 million in Iraq; 4.3 million in the Sudan; 1.8 million in Egypt; 1.3 million in Libya; 1 million in the State of Palestine; 300,000 in Djibouti; and 100,000 in Jordan.
5 This figure was calculated based on countries’ 2017 humanitarian needs overview documents and 2017 humanitarian response plans. This includes an estimated 13.5 million in the Syrian Arab Republic; 11.3 million in Yemen; 10.8 million in Turkey; 8.9 million in Iraq; 3.2 million in Lebanon; 3.2 million in the Sudan; 1.8 million in the State of Palestine; 1.3 million in Libya; 500,000 in Jordan; 200,000 in Egypt; and 100,000 in Djibouti.
6 The emergencies designated as 'Level 3' are the crises in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.
7 Such as academia, regional think tanks, international financial institutions, the private sector and the philanthropic community.
8 Available funds include US$1.6 million raised against the current appeal and US$125,856 carried forward from the previous year.
9 Such as in Djibouti, Libya and the Sudan.
10 Training for the roll-out of the online Emergency Preparedness Platform was provided in-country to Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Sudan and Tunisia and remotely to Egypt, Libya, the State of Palestine, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. A best practices paper on accountability to affected populations was produced and shared with country offices, with technical assistance delivered to the Sudan to strengthen accountability to affected populations in their programming.
11 In addition to the dispatch of regional contingency stock at a value of US$3,188,224.
12 This also includes support to country offices for the winter appeal and the preparation and update of consequences of under-funding for countries currently responding to emergencies.
13 For example, a three-day Middle East and North Africa humanitarian network meeting was held for emergency and field operations staff (46 participants) to share lessons learned from the region. In addition, a one-day training was delivered on how to engage with non-state entities.
14 This includes water, sanitation and hygiene; education; child protection; nutrition; health; Communication for Development; gender and supply