Amid ‘unprecedented’ needs, UNICEF asks for $6.4bn to help 190 million children
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday launched a US$6.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 190 million children affected by humanitarian crises amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The appeal for 2021, which is a 35 per cent increase over the funds requested for this year, is the largest ever by the UN agency. It will support essential programmes in 149 countries and territories.
It is an “unprecedented” situation, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
“Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response.”
She called on donors to contribute “so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”
As the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, new humanitarian crises erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province in recent weeks while powerful storms wreaked havoc in Central America and East Asia, and protracted emergencies worsened globally.
“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic”, said Ms. Fore.
As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children, which sets out UNICEF’s 2021 appeal, the agency plans to assist, about 300 million people – including 190 million children. Priority sectors include education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, health and child protection.
The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees ($1.0 billion), Yemen ($576.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($384.4 million), Syria ($330.8 million) and Venezuela ($201.8 million).
Today UNHCR presented to states its 2021 financial needs – US$ 8.6 billion and 455 million for COVID-19 activities.
Initial pledges totalled more than one billion US$ including multi-year commitments: a record amount!
Meanwhile, donor governments pledged a record $932 million to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to support delivery of life-saving aid and protection to nearly 80 million refugees, displaced and stateless people, in 2021.
The pledges were announced at the agency’s annual pledging conference in Geneva, on Wednesday.
Addressing the conference, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “Refugees fleeing conflict, persecution and human rights violations need our support now more than ever. We are encouraged by the commitments our donors made today which are a lifeline for millions needing help, hope and home.”
To fulfil its mandated responsibilities and meet critical humanitarian needs next year, UNHCR requested about $9.1 billion, including $8.6 billion for its 2021 Global Appeal, and about $455 million for its additional COVID-19-related activities.
In all, donors committed over $1.1 billion for UNHCR’s programmes in 2021 and beyond.