UNICEF launches US$9.4 billion emergency funding appeal for children affected by conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19

Funds will support essential programmes for over 177 million children in need across 145 countries and territories through 2022

07 December 2021
Portrait photograph of Ma Nilar Than(42) and her two son at their home, Hlaing Thar Yar Township, Myanmar

GENEVA/NEW YORK, 7 December 2021 – UNICEF launched today a record US$9.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 327 million people – including 177 million children – affected by humanitarian crises and the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

The appeal is 31 per cent larger than last year’s as humanitarian needs continue to grow.

For East Asia and Pacific*, UNICEF is appealing for US$270.1 million for the region. This includes, US$151.3 million for its emergency response in Myanmar, where escalating conflict and collapsing public services have left an estimated 14.4 million people, including 5 million children, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Inter-related risks are threatening child survival, development, and well-being across the country.

“Millions of children around the world are suffering from the impacts of conflict, extreme weather events and the climate crisis,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year, the plight of these children is made even worse with faltering economies, growing poverty and rising inequality. As always, it is the children already living through crises who are the hardest hit. They need urgent help.”

The appeal includes US$2 billion for UNICEF’s response in Afghanistan where 13 million children need urgent humanitarian assistance. These include 1 million children who are facing severe acute malnutrition at a time when the health system is on the verge of collapse. The Afghanistan appeal is UNICEF’s largest ever single-country appeal.

An additional US$933 million will be allocated to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), a global effort to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. As the pandemic continues to set back the education, health, nutrition and wellbeing of children around the globe, providing the tools to bring it under control requires urgent support. 

UNICEF will also need US$909 million for the Syria refugee crisis, another US$334 million for the crisis inside Syria, US$484 million for the response in Yemen, and over US$356 for programmes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Ethiopia, where 15.6 million children need humanitarian aid and where brutal fighting displaced hundreds of thousands of children in the north, UNICEF will require US$351 million for its life-saving work.

This year’s funding appeal, UNICEF’s largest ever, also comes as escalating conflicts have pushed millions more children and their communities to the brink. Attacks on children living in countries in conflict, including attacks on civilian infrastructure critical for children’s survival, are continuing at an alarming rate. Close to 24,000 grave violations against children were confirmed last year, or 72 violations a day.

Climate change is worsening the scale and intensity of emergencies. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. Today, over 400 million children live in areas of high, or extremely high, water vulnerability.

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children which sets out the agency’s 2022 appeal, UNICEF plans to reach:

  • 7.2 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 62.1 million children with measles vaccinations;
  • 53.4 million people with access to safe water for drinking and domestic needs;
  • 27.9 million children and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support;
  • 21.3 million children and women with access to gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions;
  • 51.9 million people with safe and accessible channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers;
  • 77.1 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning; and
  • 23.6 million households with cash assistance.

With support from partners, key results in 2021 included:

  • 2.4 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 5 million children and caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support;
  • 34 million people provided with enough safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene;
  • 22.4 million children and women receiving essential health care services in UNICEF-supported facilities;
  • 110.7 million children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning;
  • More than 812.2 million people reached through behavioral messages on disease prevention and access to health services;
  • 3.2 million people with access to safe channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse;
  • 8.6 million women, girls and boys accessing GBV risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions; and
  • 14.9 million households reached with humanitarian cash transfers.

This year’s Humanitarian Action for Children Report is launched as part of CY21, a Global Forum for Children and Youth bringing together leaders, experts, change makers and influencers, along with children and youth. The forum aims to accelerate proven and new solutions, inspire commitments to create change, and mobilize knowledge and resources to advance child rights to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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About CY21

UNICEF is teaming up with the Governments of Botswana and Sweden to initiate, co-host and galvanize support for an ambitious and much-needed initiative to bring children and youth back on the global agenda.   

The vision is for the Forum to become the annual global thought-leadership and partnership-building platform convening all stakeholders interested in improving the lives of children and young people.  

A rich and engaging programme over three days with more than 40 sessions and 100 top speakers, the programme focuses on priority themes such as climate, mental health, education, poverty and protection from violence.   

Children and youth participation is at the centre of this event, which was designed together with a Youth Advisory Board specifically established for this purpose. In many sessions, young people will moderate or speak or participate.  Additionally, the programme will feature five TED Talks from young activists from Indonesia, Ireland, North Macedonia, Sudan and Zimbabwe talking about accessibility, climate, conflict and more. 

*Countries in East Asia and Pacific, include: Cambodia, Indonesia, DPR, Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Pacific (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF East Asia & Pacific and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/eap

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