Supply partners step up to help UNICEF deliver life-saving supplies for children
Inspiring partnerships boosted UNICEF’s achievements in 2022.
In 2022, many children and their families around the world faced multiple emergencies. War, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and other crises meant that by the end of the year 339 million people required life-saving assistance – up 25 per cent on a year earlier. This placed huge demands on global humanitarian supply chains, highlighting that better forecasting and resilience is needed within procurement and logistics networks to ensure children and families receive essential supplies on time.
Throughout the year, UNICEF worked with a diverse range of partners to meet the immediate needs of children in emergencies, all the while making inroads to improve supply systems into the future.
Emergency supplies touch down
War in Ukraine:
The war has had a devastating impact on the country’s 7.5 million children, with the fighting sparking displacement on a scale not seen since World War II. The global logistics and transport firms Kuehne + Nagel, Flexport and tourism group TUI contributed to UNICEF’s emergency response by delivering dignity kits, hygiene supplies, blankets, and water and sanitation items to Ukraine at the beginning of the war. UNICEF has since expanded its operations even further, sending more than 12,500 metric tons of supplies to the country.
Flooding in Pakistan:
To reach children and families caught up in Pakistan’s catastrophic monsoon floods, DP World funded critical water, sanitation, hygiene and education supplies for children and families in the hardest hit locations. The UPS Foundation contributed to UNICEF’s efforts by funding psychosocial and recreation kits to help reduce the effects of flood trauma, while Flexport, Scan Global and IAG Cargo provided in-kind freight for essential items. Maersk also made storage space available in Pakistan to enable the quick distribution of goods.
UNICEF worked around the clock to deliver COVID-19 supplies such as vaccines, diagnostics, medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE). In support of this mammoth operation, DP World’s storage hub in Dubai was used by UNICEF to organise the delivery of COVID-19 supplies. This was complemented by staff seconded from Deutsche Post DHL Group, who brought extra technical know-how into planning and delivery operations. The UPS Foundation provided funding to UNICEF to boost logistics planning capacity and to purchase refrigerated trucks in Cameroon, enabling access to vaccines in more difficult to reach areas.
Newborns and children are often cut off from basic health care during emergencies. The UPS Foundation shipped PPE to Ghana to help tackle a health emergency and oral rehydration salts to Lebanon in response to a cholera outbreak. In the aftermath of an earthquake in Afghanistan, Flexport supported a delivery of water tanks to ensure safe water was available for communities at risk of waterborne diseases. USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) also transported water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to Haiti to make sure children had access to proper sanitation.
Drought in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa – which was facing its fifth failed rainy season – pushed millions of children to the brink of survival. UNICEF coordinated with Flexport and the UPS Foundation to deliver ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to Chad and Ethiopia to help severely malnourished children. The CMA CGM Foundation supported UNICEF programmes, including nutrition, by offering free-of-charge sea freight for 50 shipments to over 20 countries, harnessing CMA’s global network and capacity to help UNICEF reach children all around the world.
Improving supply chains for the future
During emergencies, the pressure on supply chains increases, which can result in delays, rising freight costs and bottlenecks in the transport of supplies. Finding longer-term solutions to overcome these challenges was a key priority for UNICEF in 2022.
In January, a memorandum of understanding was signed with The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) to address challenges related to the import of essential supplies. The collaboration between GATF and UNICEF focuses on improving countries’ supply chain systems by digitalizing customs clearances and modernizing border processes, reducing the processing time of deliveries. In Mozambique, for example, the partnership supported improvements to the country’s importation of essential vaccines and medical products.
UNICEF’s collaboration with Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium and Port of Cotonou in Benin has made strides in improving supply chains. Through coordination with the logistics sector in West Africa, delivery timelines of essential supplies are being improved and transport costs are being reduced. Working closely with the ports is more important than ever, as insecurity has compromised UNICEF’s regular transport corridors.
Building on a 2021 charter signed by UNICEF, where the World Economic Forum and 20 air and sea carriers, port authorities, freight forwarders and logistics providers signed on to prioritise the delivery of COVID-19 supplies, the collaboration was renewed in a new charter to cement the industry’s backing for more resilient humanitarian supply chains. Signatories will engage with governments and customs authorities to ensure fast and prioritized shipments of essential supplies, while supporting humanitarian organizations with requests for information, resources, expertise and emergency calls for action.
Supply chains: critical to saving lives
UNICEF’s supply chain experiences in 2022 highlighted once more the critical importance of public and private sector partnerships to overcome challenges so that we can reach people in need and strengthen systems for the future. UNICEF will continue to harness partners’ expertise, innovation and leadership to ensure supplies arrive in the hands of children on time.
UNICEF is thankful for the inspiring collaboration with our partners to strengthen supply chains to improve the lives of children around the world.