© UNICEF/HQ06-1122/Jadallah

Hoda Al-Ajori stands inside her destroyed home in Gaza in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. UNICEF supports relief and psychosocial activities for Gaza’s children, who face continuing violence and hardship.


The Middle East and North Africa region, with its heterogeneity of oil-rich, middle-income and least developed countries is also one of the most politically volatile regions in the world. The ongoing conflicts and insecurity in Iraq and Darfur, the occupation of the Palestinian territory, the situation of the refugee populations, especially Iraqis and Palestinians, the general sense of instability in Lebanon, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Maghreb and the recurrence of natural disasters have devastating implications for women and children in the region.


Emergency preparedness and capacity-building: The UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office (MENARO) will support countries considered most volatile/at risk in order to a) update scenarios, b) operationalize and c) practise advanced response planning, at subregional and subnational levels and within an interagency framework. This will be particularly important in areas where UNICEF has global cluster leadership, which induces crucial accountabilities in the areas of preparedness and response. UNICEF MENARO will also assist in reviewing the capacity of national partners and establish/reinforce existing technical partners’ coordination networks as well as expand partners’ skills through continued training on emergency preparedness and response.

Strengthening emergency response to natural disasters and other rapid onset emergencies (incl. contingency planning and regional surge response capacity): Should funding be available, UNICEF MENARO will ensure that at-risk countries have the capacity to respond rapidly to the needs of at least 50,000 affected people at the onset of any crisis; preposition limited supplies in high-risk countries or, when more appropriate, in a regionally central location; strengthen the ‘surge capacity’ mechanism for the MENA region to allow for fast deployment of experienced staff, particularly in sectors of UNICEF’s cluster leadership; roll out performance monitoring and assist all Country Offices facing emergencies to maintain/develop evidence-based indicators that will help them develop advocacy tools when speaking out for children. A dedicated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) emergency officer will work closely with Country Offices on reviewing WASH capacity in high-risk countries and mapping of partners in other priority countries.

Coordination and partnerships: UNICEF MENARO will continue to coordinate efforts with regards to the subregional implications of the Iraq and occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) crises, promoting inter-country coordination and sharing good practices, with a special focus on child protection and education; forge partnerships with national/regional bodies and partners with a view to undertaking joint training on emergency response for staff of respective partners; continue to strongly support regular coordination efforts through the consolidated regional inter-agency network on emergency preparedness and response.

Regional Office financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Emergency preparedness and capacity-building 100,000
Strengthening emergency response to natural disasters and other rapid onset emergencies (incl. contingency planning and regional surge response capacity) 350,000
Building partnerships and coordination 50,000
Total* 500,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.