UNICEF Annual Report 2020

Responding to COVID-19

A young student wearing a face mask, because of the covid-19 pandemic.


UNICEF’s 2020 Annual Report underscores how 2020 was a year like no other. School closures, increased vulnerability to abuse, mental health strains and loss of access to vital services have hurt children deeply. But not all children have been affected equally. The pandemic has exposed deep inequalities that have existed for too long, with the worst consequences on children in the poorest countries and communities and those already disadvantaged.

Reflecting on 2020’s unique experience, the report features:

  • A section on how COVID-19 affected children in 2020.
  • A feature on how UNICEF adapted to the pandemic, including social and behavior change and community engagement, data monitoring and provision of life-saving supplies from Supply Division.
  • Stories and photo essays on mental health, remote learning, WASH and conflict, and cash transfers.


Despite daunting challenges to children, young people and to UNICEF staff worldwide, in 2020, UNICEF responded to the crises created by COVID-19, including: 

  • Providing Leadership in the COVAX Facility, resulting in the financing of COVID-19 vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries and preparing countries to deliver the vaccine.
  • Providing critical WASH services and supplies for 106 million people.
  • Managing risk communication and public information to reach 3 billion people, including approximately 810 million children.
  • Providing personal protective equipment for nearly 2.6 million health workers.
  • Putting in place community-based mental health and psychosocial interventions that reached 78 million children, adolescents, parents and caregivers.
  • Shifting the management of child wasting from facilities to the community level, which resulted in nearly 5 million children with severe wasting receiving treatment and care
  • Supporting more than 301 million children with remote learning.
  • Reaching over 130 million children in 93 countries with cash-transfer programmes.
  • Responding to 455 new and ongoing humanitarian situations in 152 countries beyond COVID-19.


In a year marred by the pandemic, public and private-sector engagements with new and existing partners grew dramatically in terms of income, influence and expertise, with record-breaking revenue. COVID-19 reaffirmed the importance of flexible funding that allows for rapid, efficient and agile emergency response while sustaining essential longer-term programming.


 A young student wearing a face mask
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