UNICEF Launches $10B Appeal to Help World's Children in 2023

December 5, 2022
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Addressing the devastating impacts of climate change on vulnerable children and families is the focus of UNICEF's humanitarian action plan for 2023, according to a detailed appeal released today.

An action plan to reach over 110 million children impacted by conflict, catastrophe and climate change 

The $10.3 billion plan aims to reach over 110 million children with support and protection across 155 countries and territories. The countries with the greatest funding needs are Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the CongoEthiopiaUkraine and Syria.

Gender equality and inclusive programming will remain a top priority for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Climate action with partners will focus on mitigating climate change risks and investing in climate adaptation through interventions that help build community resilience.

UNICEF will also continue to address global food and nutrition crises, which involves working with partners to support and advance services and best practices for preventing, detecting and treating child malnutrition. UNICEF will also keep working to strengthen delivery of essential health services, including child immunizations

Nasteha, 13, left, and Siham, 13, are able to access safe water from a point outside Daley primary school in Garissa County, Kenya. The water comes from a UNICEF-supported solar-powered borehole in the village. UNICEF works with local partners to advance innovative solutions to water scarcity across the Horn of Africa. © UNICEF/UN0733319/Ekwam

An appeal for support to address 'a confluence of crises' — from violence to disease outbreaks to malnutrition

In a statement announcing the appeal, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell pointed out that there were more children in need of humanitarian assistance today than at any other time since World War II.

"Across the globe, they are facing a confluence of crises – from violence and displacement to infectious disease outbreaks and soaring rates of malnutrition," Russell said. "Meanwhile, climate change is compounding the severity of these crises and unleashing new ones.

"Just this year, we have seen a wave of deadly climate-linked disasters, including catastrophic floods in Pakistan, historic drought in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, and blistering heat waves across parts of Europe, the Middle East and North America," Rusell added. "And it is children who are bearing the brunt."

Girls wade through floodwaters on their way to school in Sunamganj, Sylhet, northeastern Bangladesh.  © UNICEF/UN0642143

Millions of children around the world are struggling to survive, including:

  • 400 million children living in areas under conflict
  • an estimated 1 billion children — half the world's young population — who are living in places that are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change
  • at least 36.5 million children displaced from their homes — the highest number on record
  • 8 million children under age 5 across 15 countries suffering from severe wasting, an extreme form of malnutrition that is fatal if left untreated

"Keep in mind that humanitarian emergencies are not bound by national borders," Russell noted. "Conflict and crisis in one part of the world can impact the lives of children thousands of miles away." Malnutrition crises in the Horn of Africa and the central Sahel region, for example, have been linked to the economic fallout and disruption in global markets brought on by the war in Ukraine.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan sits with 11-year-old Raghad in an English learning support class at the UNICEF-supported Makani center in East Amman, Jordan. “Children whose lives have already been devastated by conflict are now facing a second crisis of learning loss," said Almellehan. “An entire generation of vulnerable children are at risk of dropping out of school altogether, leaving them exposed to early marriage, child labor and worsening mental health.” © UNICEF/UN0696286/Matas

"The situation is not hopeless," Russell continued. UNICEF knows how to reach children who are at greatest risk and have the greatest needs.

From Afghanistan to Somalia, from the Sahel to Yemen, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with lifesaving assistance during humanitarian emergencies; working to strengthen health, protection, water and sanitation, and other systems that children rely on to survive and thrive; and working to make those systems more resilient to climate shocks. 

"With support from you – our partners – we have risen to the challenge before," she said. "We can, and we must, do it again."

Help UNICEF support and protect vulnerable children around the world. Your contribution can make a difference. Donate today.

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Emma, a 5-year-old refugee from Ukraine, plays with a UNICEF staff member at a UNICEF-UNHCR Blue Dot service hub in Romania, near the Isaccea border crossing. © UNICEF/UN0622182/Holerga

Consider becoming a monthly supporter. In an increasingly volatile world, with more children in need than ever before, access to timely and flexible funding remains critical for UNICEF to respond quickly to crises as they unfold and to anticipate future risks. Flexible funding also helps UNICEF ensure that the humanitarian response is based on need and that resources are allocated equitably. Learn more.

Top photo: A health care worker screens 8-month-old Latu to measure the progress of her treatment for severe acute malnutrition at the UNICEF-supported Dubuluk Health Center in Ethiopia. © UNICEF/UN0724754/Ayene