UNICEF launches globally a US$9.4 billion emergency funding appeal for children affected by conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19

In Iraq, the funds would support essential programs for 1 million people, almost 780,000 of them children, through 2022

07 December 2021

Baghdad, 7 December 2021 – UNICEF launched today a record US$9.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 327 million people – including 177 million children – affected by humanitarian crises and the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

The appeal is 31 per cent larger than last year’s as humanitarian needs continue to grow.

“Millions of children around the world are suffering from the impacts of conflict, extreme weather events and the climate crisis,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year, the plight of these children is made even worse with faltering economies, growing poverty and rising inequality. As always, it is the children already living through crises who are the hardest hit. They need urgent help.”

In Iraq, as part of the appeal, UNICEF is requesting US$ 52.2 million in 2022 to meet the critical and acute humanitarian needs of vulnerable children and families affected by a combination of humanitarian situations, including protracted crisis due to conflict, political instability and the COVID-19 situation.

In addition, as part of the Syrian Refugees Appeal, UNICEF is requesting US$11,664,429 for 2022 and the same amount for 2023 to respond to the most immediate needs of Syrian refugees and vulnerable host communities in Iraq, while helping to mitigate the ongoing negative effects of COVID-19. The appeal would serve to reach 115,113 Syrian refugees in Iraq, 72,669 of them children.

This year’s funding appeal, UNICEF’s largest ever, also comes as escalating conflicts have pushed millions more children and their communities to the brink. Attacks on children living in countries in conflict, including attacks on civilian infrastructure critical for children’s survival, are continuing at an alarming rate. Close to 24,000 grave violations against children were confirmed last year, or 72 violations a day.  

Climate change is worsening the scale and intensity of emergencies. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. Today, over 400 million children live in areas of high, or extremely high, water vulnerability.

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children which sets out the agency’s 2022 appeal, UNICEF plans to reach: 

  • 7.2 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 62.1 million children with measles vaccinations;
  • 53.4 million people with access to safe water for drinking and domestic needs;
  • 27.9 million children and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support;
  • 21.3 million children and women with access to gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions;
  • 51.9 million people with safe and accessible channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers;
  • 77.1 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning; and
  • 23.6 million households with cash assistance.

With support from partners, key results in 2021 included: 

  • 2.4 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition;
  • 5 million children and caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support;
  • 34 million people provided with enough safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene;
  • 22.4 million children and women receiving essential health care services in UNICEF-supported facilities;
  • 110.7 million children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning;
  • More than 812.2 million people reached through behavioral messages on disease prevention and access to health services;
  • 3.2 million people with access to safe channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse;
  • 8.6 million women, girls and boys accessing GBV risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions; and
  • 14.9 million households reached with humanitarian cash transfers.

This year’s Humanitarian Action for Children Report is launched as part of CY21, a Global Forum for Children and Youth bringing together leaders, experts, change makers and influencers, along with children and youth. The forum aims to accelerate proven and new solutions, inspire commitments to create change, and mobilize knowledge and resources to advance child rights to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Media contacts

Miguel Mateos Munoz
Chief of Communication
Tel: +964 7827820238


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/iraq/, Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook