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UNICEF in Emergencies & Humanitarian Action

UNICEF's Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS)

The Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS) is the focal point for emergency assistance, humanitarian policies, staff security and support to UNICEF offices in the field, as well as strategic coordination with external humanitarian partners both within and outside the United Nations system. EMOPS thus leads efforts to ensure that UNICEF’s role in humanitarian crises is clearly defined, that the organisation is properly equipped to fulfill that role, and that all levels of the organization are prepared to deliver our mandate.

EMOPS coordinates headquarters support to country and regional offices dealing with emergencies in terms of staffing, funding, donor relations, inter-agency issues or technical guidance. In addition, UNICEF’s Operations Centre (OPSCEN) is a 24-hour, 7 days-a-week information gathering and dissemination hub within EMOPS. OPSCEN monitors humanitarian crises, political events and security-related incidents around the world with a view to ensuring the safety of staff, and providing both field offices and senior decision-makers with critical information related to humanitarian emergencies.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0128/Morooka
A UNICEF worker assists a girl as she reads from her textbook, in her classroom at a public primary school in Homs, Syria.

Through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (IASC) and other coordination entities established among the United Nations family, EMOPS works to ensure that children’s interests are at the centre of the humanitarian policy debate both within the United Nations and among NGO forums. EMOPS also has a pivotal role in ensuring that UNICEF’s message and voice is heard on key humanitarian policy issues. In most humanitarian crises, between 60%-80% of the affected population are women and children. Internally, EMOPS is a key actor in the formulation of humanitarian policy and works closely with other UNICEF Divisions in the development of performance indicators and benchmarks for monitoring the performance of the organization in its capacity to respond to crises.

EMOPS is UNICEF’s focal point for support to inter-agency early warning and preparedness activities and also, internally, for the development of UNICEF’s own early warning system, the enhancement of preparedness tools, and the operationalization of preparedness plans at country, regional and headquarters levels.

UNICEF supports direct humanitarian action, emergency programmes and policies throughout all its Divisions and offices, but concentrates coordination within EMOPS: the Office of Emergency Programmes based in New York and Geneva.



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