© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0691/Volpe

Children stand in a shelter for people displaced by the August 2008 conflict in Tbilisi, Georgia. Political tensions in the region, exacerbated by natural disasters, underscore the need for rapid mobilization of resources in emergencies.


The Central and Eastern Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) region is highly prone to natural hazards, which often lead to disastrous consequences due to the high level of vulnerabilities and weak coping capacities of the population. Among the natural disasters that are common in the region are earthquakes, floods, avalanches, mudslides and drought as well as forest fires. The region is also susceptible to political tensions, which at times led to violence and conflict. Of concern is the situation in the Caucasus, Balkans and Turkey, where a number of political disputes remain unresolved. 

High food and fuel prices has also exacerbated poverty levels in the CEE/CIS region. Recent food security and nutrition surveys conducted in Central Asia have indicated that a large proportion of the population is requiring food assistance. Many poor families are resorting to changing the diet balance in order to cope with the high prices. The impact has gone beyond the food sector. For example, some families have pulled out their children from schools as they can no longer afford to pay for the school fees and supplies.


Regional Surge Capacity: Lessons learnt from the two big emergencies in 2008 in the CEE/CIS region (i.e., Georgia and Tajikistan) have underscored the need to strengthen surge capacity at the regional level, which will enable timely support to the countries responding to emergencies. This requires the Regional Office to maintain a small emergency fund to support rapid mobilization of critical human resources, equipment and supplies within the region, prior to the activation of the global response system. 

Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning: As the global cluster lead for nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and co-lead for education with Save the Children Alliance, the Regional Office will continue to provide technical guidance to Country Offices as well as other humanitarian partners (such as UN Country Teams (UNCTs), other Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) partners and governments) on child rights, UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies and cluster approach modalities. Capacity-building activities, especially training workshops and simulation exercises, will be organized for Country Offices on emerging humanitarian issues, corporate policies and partnership modalities.

Disaster Risk Reduction: In the area of disaster risk reduction, the Regional Office’s primary focus will be to implement the project activities funded under the European Union’s Disaster Preparedness Programme (ECHO) in Central Asia. In addition, the Regional Office will be supporting risk reduction activities in some of the most disaster-prone countries in the region, especially Turkey; and continue to work with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) Secretariat and the UN Development Programme/Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (UNDP/BCPR) in planning and organizing training workshops for the UNCTs in the region.

Central and Eastern Europe, Commonwealth of Independent
Region (CEE/CIS) Emergency Needs for 2009*

Sector US$
Regional Surge Capacity 350,000
Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning  100,000
Disaster Risk Reduction 300,000
Total** 750,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** 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.