Dec 18 2023

Emergency Response

How UNICEF plans to meet urgent and escalating needs of children in a number of conflict and crisis hotspots around the world, by leaning into local partnerships to accelerate and sustain impact and appealing for more flexible funding support. 

UNICEF — which is funded entirely by voluntary donations from public and private sector donors — has launched an appeal for $9.3 billion to support Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) in 2024.

The extensive plan for the year ahead reflects an increasingly dire situation for children in the world today due to conflicts, natural disasters and the devastating impacts of climate change — from child displacement to outbreaks of preventable disease to mounting food insecurity. In many places around the world where UNICEF works, these crises tend to overlap and amplify one another. 

In announcing the appeal, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said receiving flexible funding from donors is ideal. UNICEF specializes in emergency response, often being the first on the ground as a crisis unfolds and among the last to leave and supporting efforts to recover and rebuild; flexible funding allows UNICEF to respond quickly and deliver assistance to the most vulnerable children, when and where it is needed, and to adapt or pivot as needs and conditions change, sometimes hour by hour.

Flexible funding enabled UNICEF's South Sudan country office to quickly deploy social workers and set up Child-Friendly Spaces at remote border locations, where more than 130,000 women and children fleeing the conflict in Sudan had arrived by early August. Flexible funding also allowed UNICEF to kickstart its response in Gaza, including the prepositioning of essential WASH supplies such as bottled water, and the allocation of humanitarian cash transfers to conflict-affected households.

UNICEF's strategy for 2024 also leans into "localization" — UNICEF's term for collaborating with local partners, who play a crucial role in delivering immediate relief to children in hard-to-reach places and in longer-term resilience building and system strengthening.

"Millions of children continue to be caught in humanitarian crises that are growing in complexity and scale, and that are increasingly stretching our resources to respond,” Russell said. “With predictable flexible funding, UNICEF and partners can quickly support children in need from the moment an emergency strikes, while preparing for future risks to save and improve lives.”

With predictable flexible funding, UNICEF and partners can quickly support children in need from the moment an emergency strikes, while preparing for future risks to save and improve lives. — UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell

There are 43 separate action plans for 2024 — a global plan, 30 separate plans covering individual countries*, seven regional plans and five that cover a different multi-country crisis. While each plan estimates funding needs for specific programs and interventions, UNICEF encourages supporters not to earmark their donations to a specific country or cause.

Here are some examples of how UNICEF plans to keep delivering for children in 2024.

In late September-early October 2023, over 100,000 ethnic Armenians — including 30,000 children — fled to the Republic of Armenia following a hostile military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, their region of origin. Around 98,000 refugees have been officially registered to date and they are located throughout Armenia, with the highest numbers in Yerevan, followed by Syunik, Kotayk and Ararat provinces. This significant influx of refugees is deeply affecting already overstretched host communities. UNICEF is already on the ground assisting the government-led response, helping to meet urgent needs in health and nutrition, education and child protection, with special focus on supporting separated and unaccompanied children and children with disabilities.

The plan for 2024 includes continuing to work with government and civil society partners to ensure inclusive and age- and gender-appropriate services for uprooted children, adolescents and families, providing social protection through humanitarian cash assistance or vouchers, and helping to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene support, among other measures. Learn more.

For other countries click on the link below