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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2013 Global: Evaluation of UNICEF’s Emergency Preparedness Systems

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System".  Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports.  Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best Practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it.  You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 6’ of the report.


Emergencies have a negative effect on the realization of the rights of UNICEF’s core beneficiary groups. In 2012, UNICEF and its partners responded to 286 humanitarian situations of varying degrees in 79 countries. UNICEF’s involvement in emergency situations is expected to increase as emergencies become more frequent. It is, therefore, important that UNICEF effectively prepares for emergencies, both independently and in collaboration with national governments and partners, and also ensures that adequate investment has been made to this end. Recent audits and evaluations, however, have pointed to uneven emergency preparedness (EP) across emergencies.

This independent evaluation was commissioned by UNICEF’s Evaluation Office (EO) to pinpoint the specific gaps in UNICEF’s EP policies and systems that need to be addressed or strengthened.


The evaluation examines the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, connectedness, sustainability and coverage of UNICEF’s current Emergency Preparedness (EP) systems across its global operations.  Its main purpose is to help UNICEF become better prepared for the wide range of emergencies it faces – and to blunt the effects of emergencies when they do occur – and thus help it save more lives and reduce human suffering in ever-better ways.  In order to look both back and ahead, the evaluation considers the evolution of UNICEF’s EP systems to date as a means of tracking progress. The evaluation is both summative and formative (with emphasis on the latter).


The evaluation was based on standard methodology, which involved key informant interviews, semi-structured focus group workshops, field observations through visits to seven countries – carried out from December 2012 to April 2013 – a survey of UNICEF staff, secondary research and data analysis.

Findings and Conclusions:

UNICEF has made progress in incorporating EP into its operations, and these measures have likely contributed to better emergency response. While this progress was documented throughout the evaluation, integration of EP has been ad hoc and limited in nature.

This evaluation observed that UNICEF's humanitarian activities are orientated towards emergency response rather than preparation or mitigation. Constraints identified in this report that hinder improved EP include: inadequate articulation of vision, goals, definitions and strategy; ad hoc funding; inconsistent application of programming; lack of integration of policies, practices and standards; limited accountability and lack of performance measurement and reporting activities.


R1: Design, communicate and implement a global strategy for EP that will result in a systematic implementation of a coherent system based on context and risk analysis across CO and RO levels.

R2: Increase the financial commitment to EP to match the needs of increasing emergency response in UNICEF and ensure that financial allocations for EP are integrated into CO programming as a percentage depending on risk perception.

R3: Expand linkages to existing national and global EP systems led by partners and governments to create added value.

R4: Establish a simple and cost effective system to enhance data availability for monitoring, reporting and evaluation to promote understanding of how EP leads to better response, what works best, and how to improve and innovate in the future.

You will find the EmPrep report below labeled as follows:

  •  Full Report - "Report"
  •     Executive Summary [English] - "Part 2"
  •  Executive Summary [French] - "Part 3"
  •  Executive Summary [Spanish] - "Part 4"
  •  Annexes - "Part 5"
  •  GEROS quality review - "Part 6"


Full report in PDF

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