UNICEF issued its annual funding appeal on 3 December, seeking an unprecedented $6.5 Billion USD to meet needs through 2021. This is an increase of about 35 Percent more than requested for 2020 and reflects the rise in humanitarian needs and the funding gaps brought on by continued crises and the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children establishes the agency’s plans to reach the following key populations, among others:
45 million people with access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene;
6.3 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition;
27.4 million children with measles vaccinations;
93.3 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning;
Climate-related disasters have tripled in the past 3 decades, increasing water scarcity, threatening food security, forcing migrations, and increasing the risk of conflict and public health emergencies. UNICEF estimates that 36 million children are living in displacement due to conflict, violence and disaster. Malnutrition among children is on the rise globally.
The appeal will assist in new humanitarian crises that have erupted in Ethiopia and Mozambique as well as continue support efforts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen. In addition, powerful storms have devastated vulnerable communities in Central America and East Asia (namely the Philippines, Viet Nam and Cambodia), affecting 2.6 million and 13.4 million children respectively.
“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “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. We are urging our donors to join us so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”
COVID-19 has had a particularly devastating impact on the lives of children as routine immunization services have been disrupted in more than 60 countries. Nearly a quarter of a billion students worldwide are still affected by COVID-19 school closures. Globally, economic instability is disrupting essential services and making it harder for families to make ends meet and increasing the risk of domestic and gender-based violence.
The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees ($1.0 Billion USD), Yemen ($576.9 Million USD), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($384.4 Million USD), Syria ($330.8 Million USD) and Venezuela ($201.8 Million USD).