© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0565/Ramoneda

A girl, one of the 1.4 million displaced by fighting, queues for food at the Chota Lahore Camp in Swabi District, Pakistan. In addition to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the region remains vulnerable to droughts and flooding.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

The Asia–Pacific region has an emergency profile that is characterized by natural disasters and civil/political unrest with pockets of armed conflict, straining access to and timely provision of humanitarian assistance and delivery of basic services for children and women. In 2009, the region saw the situation in war-torn and politically unstable countries worsen, further increasing the number of internally displaced people. In addition, flooding, which is often associated with the annual typhoon and cyclone season, has been unusually severe and is also devastating the lives of millions of people in the region. Paradoxically, the shortage of rainfall in other areas has led to drought and food insecurity. The Asia–Pacific region is also being affected by global events such as food and fuel price shocks and the threat of pandemic influenza, in addition to the presence of endemic diseases, like cholera and dengue.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, UNICEF’s Asia and Pacific Shared Services Centre (APSSC) will continue to provide support to country offices for emergency preparedness and response planning, as well as for capacity building activities, particularly in the four clusters UNICEF leads globally to meet the challenges of securing reliable access to basic social services for women and children in the region.  APSSC will also advocate for agencies to have a special focus on children and vulnerable groups. This will include actively partnering with regional government bodies, United Nations agencies and NGOs to promote the cluster approach through awareness-raising and inter-cluster missions at the country level, in addition to leading or co-leading the regional cluster networks for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Nutrition and Education (with Save the Children) and establishing one for Child Protection in Emergencies. Following are the expected results of UNICEF’s emergency interventions:

Technical Support for Emergency Preparedness and Response

At the onset of an emergency, direct support will be made available to country offices to ensure a coordinated humanitarian action response. Pandemic preparedness and response will also be expanded through the use of programme communication to build capacity in the broader context of emerging diseases.

Regional Programming Support Capacities in Cluster Areas

Working with partners, APSSC will provide support to country offices for emergency response through UNICEF’s increasingly recognized inter-agency cluster responsibilities.

Nutrition: In 2010, UNICEF will concentrate its efforts on strengthening capacity in community-based management of acute malnutrition, cluster coordination and nutrition survey methods.  UNICEF will also advocate for local production of ready-to-use therapeutic foods in the Asia–Pacific region.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Together with WASH cluster partners, UNICEF will focus on emergency preparedness in country offices and on improved response in emergencies through the development of inter-agency contingency plans and roll-out of WASH packages for use during emergencies.

Education: The UNICEF-led Education Cluster will have improved coordination through mapping and gap analyses for education in emergencies, development and sharing of education tools and standards, on-site and distance technical assistance, capacity building workshops and regular follow-up with cluster coordinators, emergency education specialists and government partners.

Child Protection: UNICEF will respond to child protection concerns in the region such as trafficking, gender-based violence and recruitment of children for armed conflict through support to countries reporting on the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1612 and 1882 and improved coordination within the Protection Cluster to overcome operational constraints where the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is not present.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Technical support for emergency preparedness and response 400,000
Regional support for capacity-building in cluster areas 1,500,000
Child Protection 500,000
Education 400,000
Nutrition 300,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 300,000
Total 1,900,000