Building “partnerships” is the overarching theme of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s recently released Humanitarian Action Report 2010. The report examines 28 emergencies around the globe in which urgent action is imperative to save lives and to protect children. In recognition that these emergencies cannot be addressed without partnerships and active and coordinated cooperation, the report notes that UNICEF is actively developing new strategies and approaches to partner with communities, governments, the private sector, donors and civil society. “Innovative collaboration remains crucial to realizing children’s rights, strengthening preparedness and emergency response, expanding access to essential services for those affected by disaster and conflict, and supporting recovery,” the report notes.
The various country chapters in the report emphasize how UNICEF is working with civil society, government authorities, the private sector and donors to respond to emergencies, support recovery, build capacities and strengthen systems to protect children and women. It highlights the conceptual shift that is taking place throughout UNICEF “from working with partners as vendors for service delivery to engaging collaboratively with civil society based on shared objectives and risks, complementary approaches and mutual transparency.”
The report also identifies emerging and cross-cutting challenges in post-crisis and humanitarian contexts that seriously threaten, among others, the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For example, the report finds an alarming upward trend in child undernutrition. It notes that in South Asia alone, an estimated 400 million people suffered from hunger in 2009 – around one quarter more than the regional average for the period 2004–2006.
Responding to the need to better protect women and children through further cooperation in the identified emergency situations; and to better address challenges such as climate change, global economic volatility, the changing nature of conflict and the widespread prevalence of sexual violence against children and women, UNICEF, in its report, also provides an overview of emergency funding requirements for the current year.
The report is accessible online.