We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Map of refugee and migrant movement in Europe
UNICEF photo: two boys between train cars © UNICEF/2017/Gilbertson VII Child asylum seekers try to hide on a train in the outskirts of Thessaloniki, Greece, in March 2017.

Refugee and migrant crisis in Europe

In 2018, UNICEF and partners plan for:
25,700

children benefitting from quality child protection services in Greece, Italy, Serbia, Bulgaria and Germany

15,550

children enrolled in formal and non-formal education in Greece, Italy, Serbia and Bulgaria

4,680

people accessing gender-based violence services, including referral, prevention and training in Greece, Italy and Bulgaria

2018 Requirements: US$34,184,000

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:
Location:

Snapshot

Total people in need: 392,0001
Total children (<18) in need: 148,6002

Total people to be reached in 2018: 74,000
Total children to be reached in 2018: 51,100

Children on the move face a range of risks, lack protection and fall through the cracks during their desperate journeys through countries of origin, transit, arrival and return. Some 178,000 refugees and migrants, including 33,000 children, entered Europe in 2017, joining the 1.4 million people, including 360,000 children, who arrived in 2015-2016, and the 3.6 million people, including 1.2 million children, already hosted in Turkey.3 The Central Mediterranean was the most used route in 2017, with spikes of arrivals in the Eastern Mediterranean in the fall. Amid this fluid situation, additional routes through the Western Mediterranean and the Black Sea also re-emerged. Although protection systems have improved and social inclusion has progressed with increasing access to education, major gaps remain. Key challenges include the poor reception conditions, child migration detention and persistent discrimination against refugees and migrants. Many children are still unable to pursue education or access basic services. In Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and most recently Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 20,000 stranded children remain in limbo, and in Italy, 90 per cent of arriving children are unaccompanied and/or separated.4 A continuum of care and protection is needed for children on the move, throughout their journeys, given the longterm impact that this experience will have on their lives.

Humanitarian strategy

2018 programme targets

Greece

  • 5,000 children benefitting from quality child protection services
  • 2,580 people accessing GBV services, including referral, prevention and training
  • 10,500 children enrolled in formal and non-formal education

Italy

  • 6,800 children benefitting from quality child protection services
  • 1,900 front-line workers trained on child protection and GBV
  • 2,600 children participating in formal and non-formal educational activities

Serbia

  • 3,000 children benefitting from quality child protection services
  • 1,600 children participating in formal and non-formal educational activities
  • 4,000 children received basic supplies (including clothing and baby hygiene items)
  • 1,000 children under 5 accessing mother and baby care centres, including nutrition services

Bulgaria

  • 300 children benefitting from quality child protection services
  • 200 people accessing GBV services including referral, prevention and training
  • 600 children participating in non-formal educational activities

Germany

  • 10,000 children benefitting from quality child protection standards
  • 2,500 front-line workers trained on child protection standards

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • 600 children benefiting from quality child protection services
  • 250 children participating in non-formal educational activities

Rapid reaction support

  • 75 per cent of children receiving cross-sectoral rapid reaction support in contingency interventions to respond to sudden influxes

In 2018, UNICEF is responding to the needs of children and women on the move, stranded, pushed back5 and seeking asylum in Europe.6 UNICEF is using a two-pronged approach combining life-saving humanitarian service delivery with capacity building, policy reform and technical assistance. UNICEF continues to use mobile outreach to identify and refer at-risk children to relevant services, including psycho-social support. Government institutions are being supported to ensure protective guardianship, foster care, alternatives to detention, and regular and safe passage opportunities. Programming focused on the prevention of and response to genderbased violence (GBV) has been scaled up. Education and life-skills development remains a pillar of the response and a tool for advancing the social inclusion of children. UNICEF also provides essential items and conducts activities in early childhood development, health, nutrition and child rights monitoring. Cross-sectoral contingency capacity is maintained to facilitate an immediate response to any emerging situations.7 This mechanism has already been triggered to respond to the emerging needs in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the second quarter of 2018. Using a multi-regional and inter-agency approach, UNICEF has increased coordination and programming with countries of origin, transit and return to promote and protect the rights of refugee and migrant children.

Results from 2017

By 30 June 2018, UNICEF had US$21.1 million available against the US$34.2 million appeal (62 per cent funded).8 Since the start of the response in 2015, UNICEF has provided 282,500 refugee and migrant children with a range of services. In 2018, UNICEF used outreach teams to increase the identification and referral of at-risk children, reaching more than 2,700 children. An additional 12,600 children benefitted from psychosocial and community-based child protection support, and 2,200 from gender-based violence prevention and response services. More than 1,400 front-line workers in temporary care facilities for unaccompanied and separated children and reception and asylum centres across the region received training on child protection standards.9 UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations are advocating for the implementation of the roadmap ‘The Way Forward to Strengthened Policies and Practices for Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Europe’ reinforce related protection systems. More than 3,800 children aged 6 to 17 years participated in UNICEF-supported structured non-formal education activities. UNICEF policy support and technical assistance contributed to the inclusion of some 750 children in formal education. UNICEF and children ombudspersons continued to mobilize partners to monitor the rights of refugee and migrant children. Joint communication and advocacy conducted with UNICEF National Committees continues raising awareness of the situation of refugee and migrant children and supported their social inclusion.

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:
Location:

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$54,439,000 to meet the needs of refugee and migrant children in Europe in 2018-2019. These funding requirements were revised in July 2018 to integrate additional needs to respond to the influx of refugee and migrant children coming into Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of the year. Inadequate funding will hinder the effort to eradicate the abuse that children are exposed to, and undermine their inclusion and access to basic services. The response will focus on key interventions that support children in the most concerned countries. To adapt to evolving and emerging situations, UNICEF is requesting flexible funding and including rapid reaction support. In line with UNICEF's multi-regional approach, these requirements complement those outlined in the Humanitarian Action for Children appeals for Syrian refugees,10 the West and Central Africa region, and the Middle East and North Africa region.

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:
Location:

Requirements by sector

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:
Location:

_________________
1 This aligns with the number of refugees and migrants to be provided with assistance in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018, prioritizing the most vulnerable new arrivals, as well as those already in Europe.
2 This figure is based on the proportion of new child arrivals and the estimated number of children already in Europe.
3 These figures cover the first 10 months of 2017. Sources: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 'Operational Portal Refugee Situations – Mediterranean Situation', UNHCR, available at: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean, accessed 5 December 2017; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 'UNHCR Turkey: Key Facts and Figures', UNHCR, October 2017, available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNHCRTurkey-KeyFactsandFigures-October2017Snapshot_0.pdf, accessed 5 December 2017.
4 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children's Fund and International Organization for Migration, ‘Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe: Accompanied, Unaccompanied and Separated Mid year Overview of Trends January-June 2017’, UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM, October 2017, available at: www.unicef.org/eca/inter_fact.pdf, accessed 5 December 2017.
5 Push back occurs when refugees and migrants, including children, are sent back to the country of transit that they were trying to leave after they cross the border.
6 The response will focus on refugee and migrant children in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Active monitoring of needs in other countries of potential response, including Spain, will be maintained.
7 Rapid reaction support comprises a 90-day c omprehensive package of services in the following areas: child protection (psychosocial support, identification and referral of at-risk children and child-friendly spaces); GBV (identification, referral and training); non-formal education; provision of non-food items; health and nutrition (immunization, mother and baby corners and infant and young child feeding); hygiene and sanitation; child rights monitoring; communication and advocacy; and coordination (emergency human resources, coordination and information management). Technical support will also be provided and coordinated at the regional level.
8 Available funds include US$10.8 million raised against the current appeal and US$10.3 million carried forward from the previous year.
9 Front-line workers include reception centre managers, social workers, health professionals and border police forces, among others.
10 Through regional technical support, UNICEF efforts in Turkey will complement the response under the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan.