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UNICEF in Emergencies & Humanitarian Action

UNICEF's Approach in Humanitarian Action

During emergencies and humanitarian contexts, children are especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and violence.  Children living in conflict areas are worst off- as demonstrated by the millennium development goals indicators. Countries in armed conflict situations are more likely to be living in extreme poverty, for instance, or not enrolled in primary school; they are also more likely to die before their fifth birthday. Of the populations without sanitation and safe drinking water globally, approximately half live in countries affected by conflict. UNICEF focuses on these children and their families – on the essential interventions required for protection, to save lives and to ensure the rights of all children, everywhere. The chaos and insecurity of war threatens or destroys access to food, shelter, social support and health care, and results in increased vulnerability in communities, especially for children.

© UNICEF/UN0228983/Naftalin
UNICEF’s Ebola Outreach Officer in North Kivu in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, discusses Ebola prevention with a girl in Ebola-affected Beni.

UNICEF’s humanitarian action is guided by its Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) which outlines what UNICEF commits to do across all sectors – health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection, and education – as part of any humanitarian response. The CCCs are aligned to international standards and guided by humanitarian principles.

The first priority of UNICEF’s humanitarian action will be to support effective preparedness and response to humanitarian crises. In the coming four years, UNICEF will continue to build on recent improvements in systems that support humanitarian action, with the overall aim to achieve faster scaling-up of the response in major emergencies including early identification of priorities and strategies, rapid deployment of qualified staff and clear accountabilities for the response.  It will integrate preparedness into development planning and implementation.  UNICEF will continue its contributions to the humanitarian partnership system including its responsibilities for cluster and sector coordination.  In situations of civil unrest or armed conflict, it will support emergency responses that are consistent with humanitarian principles.

UNICEF Country Offices will build resilience and reduce vulnerability by supporting the capacities of local systems and structures to address these systematically.  The linkages between humanitarian and development interventions will happen in many ways, articulated through risk informed country programmes and adapted to the country context. This may involve leveraging the influx of funding for humanitarian response to trigger more structural and systemic changes to address existing gaps in the situation of children and/or using investments through regular country programmes to strengthen national capacities for response to future emergencies. In all cases, UNICEF will ensure that development programmes are not halted or supplanted by humanitarian response, but rather that integration occurs in response to national priorities and needs.

Overall, UNICEF will strengthen its capacities to act as a centre of excellence for humanitarian knowledge analysis and innovation to enable effective anticipation of threats and empower UNICEF and its partners with cutting-edge standards, technology and tools to facilitate its work and enable improved humanitarian action.



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