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Core Commitments

for Children

are the core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action

INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Commitment to Deliver on the CCC's

The CCCs state the organisation's – and each Country Office’s - commitment to respond, regardless of the kind of crisis (sudden-onset or protracted emergencies, natural disasters, public health emergencies, complex emergencies, international or internal armed conflicts, etc.[8]), irrespective of the Gross National Income level of a country (low, middle or high), or legal status of the affected populations.

See 1.2.4 Application and 1.2.5 Implementation

 

UNICEF has established clear accountability and systems to ensure that all UNICEF personnel and all sectors of the organisation at global, regional, country and local level are empowered and held accountable for the fulfilment of the CCCs.

Emergency Procedures

All UNICEF personnel are expected to know and apply the emergency procedures[9]. UNICEF’s emergency procedures set out a streamlined mechanism for organisation-wide mobilisation to support the timely delivery of humanitarian response. This includes the immediate deployment of financial, human and material resources and a set of fast-track procedures and mechanisms to enable the rapid delivery of humanitarian response, timely decision-making and effective partnerships.

Risk Management

UNICEF’s Enterprise Risk Management Policy supports well-managed risk-taking and mitigating strategies. This implies accepting risk when benefits for children are maximised and outweigh costs; anticipating and managing risks through continuous risk assessment, and proper mitigation measures; making prompt decisions; and recognising that affirmative management of risks is critical to success.

Roles and Responsibilities 

All UNICEF personnel, all sectors and offices of UNICEF at global, regional, country and local level are responsible for the fulfilment of the CCCs.

UNICEF personnel

All UNICEF personnel, whether operating in a humanitarian or development context:

  • Are expected to know the CCCs, promote their implementation and contribute to their fulfilment, according to the context

  • Are expected to know and apply the emergency procedures, according to the context

  • Must observe the standards of conduct of the International Civil Service[10], the UN Code of Ethics and UNICEF’s core values

All UNICEF senior managers at Headquarters (HQ), Regional Office (RO), Country Office (CO) and Field Office (FO) are responsible and held accountable for:

  • Implementing and enforcing the CCCs as the framework for preparedness and humanitarian response

  • Practising and promoting standards of behaviour based on the core values of care, respect, integrity, trust and accountability as per UNICEF Competency Framework, and as a foundation of their humanitarian leadership

  • Empowering staff to deliver results for children, holding them accountable for those results, and creating a climate that encourages quality organisational performance and efficient partnerships

  • Developing and maintaining a positive working environment that is free from misconduct, including discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment

 

Country Offices

COs are responsible for the effective and principled delivery of UNICEF humanitarian action at country level. In case of cross-border operations, COs ensure appropriate coordination with ROs’ support.

Country Representatives, with the support of the Country Management Team (CMT) and the guidance of the RO and HQ, are responsible for:

  • Providing overall strategic direction, leadership and guidance to the CO team in the design and delivery of humanitarian programmes as well as on prioritisation and resource allocation

  • Establishing dialogue and fostering strategic and principled collaboration and/or partnerships with the host government (and in conflict-affected contexts, with parties to conflict), with UN agencies, international financial institutions, media, civil society, private sector and academia

  • Advocating with the national/local authorities, and in conflict-affected contexts, with parties to the conflict, to respect, promote and fulfil women’s and children’s rights, and to improve policies and programmes for children, women and communities

  • Establishing dialogue and fostering strategic and principled collaboration and/or partnerships with the local authorities and, in conflict-affected contexts, with parties to the conflict for an unimpeded principled access and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the populations in need

  • Representing UNICEF in humanitarian and development fora and advocating for the fulfilment of the CCCs in inter-agency coordination fora, such as UN Country Team (UNCT), Security Management Team (SMT), and Humanitarian Country Team (HCT)

  • Monitoring the situation of children, women and communities with a view to detecting imminent crises; identifying major unmet humanitarian needs of children and taking appropriate measures in line with the CCCs to address them

  • Ensuring UNICEF delivers on its IASC commitments at country level, including on coordination

  • Ensuring the delivery of quality humanitarian programmes and their effective monitoring for corrective action

See 2.2.1 Quality of programmes

  • Ensuring that UNICEF is a responsive and reliable partner

See 3.5 Partnerships with governments and civil society organisations for programme implementation

  • Providing support to national and local partners

See 2.2.6 Localisation

  • Establishing alliances with donors and mobilising multi-year and flexible resources

  • Ensuring the optimum management of programme resources (financial, human, administrative and other assets), including through the design and adjustment of an office structure fit for purpose for emergency programmes and operations

See 3.1 Administration and finance

  • Ensuring that activities are conducted in a way that manages the risks to personnel, premises and assets, and ensures the protection and security of staff members and UNICEF

See 3.7 Security management

  • Ensuring that UNICEF’s zero tolerance to SEA is upheld, including mandatory PSEA training of all UNICEF personnel and partners, prompt reporting of SEA allegations and referral of survivors for support

Field Offices

Chiefs of Field Office, with the support of their team and the guidance of the Representative, are responsible for effective and principled delivery of UNICEF humanitarian action at local level. 

This includes:

  • Representing UNICEF in the area of responsibility, providing leadership in the provision of technical advice, negotiation and advocacy with every stakeholder

  • Advocating with the local authorities, and in conflict-affected contexts with all parties to the conflict, to respect, promote and fulfil women’s and children’s rights

  • Establishing dialogue and fostering strategic and principled collaboration and/or partnerships with the local authorities and, in conflict-affected contexts, with all parties to the conflict for an unimpeded principled access and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the populations in need

  • Ensuring effective management of UNICEF presence, staff and assets; providing direction, leadership and guidance to the field office team; and managing their performance to deliver results for children and conduct effective partnerships

  • Sustaining dialogue and regular engagement with local communities and authorities

  • Undertaking field visits, ensuring that field office staff conduct field visits to monitor and assess programme implementation for corrective action

  • Identifying major unmet humanitarian needs of children and taking appropriate measures in line with the CCCs to address them

  • Providing local authorities and service providers with technical support and guidance, building and reinforcing the capacities of national and local partners

  • Maintaining effective partnerships and collaboration for advocacy, technical cooperation, programme development/management/coordination, information-sharing and networking

  • Ensuring the optimum use of programme resources (financial, human, administrative and other assets) through systematic assessments and monitoring of operations, including through monitoring the allocation, disbursement and liquidation of programme funds

Regional Offices

ROs, with the support of HQ, are responsible for providing guidance, oversight and direct technical and operational support to COs. ROs also coordinate cross-border, cross-regional and multi-country responses. 

Regional Directors, with the support of the Regional Management Team, are responsible for providing direction, leadership and guidance to COs to ensure the achievement of organisational mission, strategy, goals and objectives. This includes:

  • Representing UNICEF in the region; establishing and maintaining the highest level of contacts and effective relationships with regional partners, including UN and national partners, intergovernmental organisations, international financial institutions, NGOs and civil society; and leveraging strategic partnerships for humanitarian action

  • Conducting regional advocacy and supporting country level advocacy to protect the rights of children, promote adherence to international laws and standards, facilitate principled humanitarian access and the delivery of programmes, and promote child-friendly policies and practices

  • Monitoring regional risks and defining regional strategies and plans for preparedness and emergency response; reviewing and guiding COs on their risk assessment and management

  • Providing guidance and direct support to COs on their preparedness and emergency response, resources, budget, fundraising and use of emergency procedures

  • Leveraging regional partnerships for emergency preparedness and response; establishing alliances with donors and mobilising multi-year and flexible resources on behalf of COs

  • Monitoring the effectiveness of UNICEF country emergency response and the efficient use of country programme resources with a view to improving country programme performance

  • Monitoring effective human resources management within the region; ensuring the availability of technical staff within the RO, facilitating the short-term deployment of staff as needed and assisting in staff redeployment in emergency situations; developing and implementing regional communication, information and advocacy strategies

  • Establishing logistics and supply operations and hubs

  • Providing support to COs on staff safety, security and counselling

  • Informing the development of global norms and policies based on regional experience

  • Facilitating cross-learning between COs within the region and across regions

Headquarters

HQ develops and maintains corporate standards, policy and tools on humanitarian action; provides technical and operational support to COs jointly with ROs, and to ROs in their preparedness and response efforts; engages in external fora and partnerships; and maintains resources to support ROs and COs in crises beyond their capacity.

All UNICEF Division Directors are responsible in their respective areas for:

  • Ensuring oversight of the organisation's performance in humanitarian response, and ensuring coordination of institutional and cross-divisional support to ROs and COs

  • Mobilising technical expertise and resources (human, material, financial) to support ROs and COs in their preparedness and response efforts

  • Conducting global advocacy and supporting regional and country advocacy to protect the rights of children, promote adherence to international laws and standards, facilitate principled humanitarian access and the delivery of programmes, and promote child-friendly policies and practices

  • Advocating with states, and in conflict-affected contexts with all parties to conflict, to respect, promote and protect women’s and children’s rights, and for an unimpeded principled access and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the populations in need

  • Providing strategic leadership and overall direction to ROs and COs for the implementation of humanitarian response and the fulfilment of the CCCs

  • Providing strategic and technical guidance to ROs and COs in their preparedness and emergency efforts, monitoring and evaluating the quality of emergency response

  • Developing and maintaining strategic partnerships for humanitarian action with counterparts in institutions/foundations, development agencies, UN agencies and NGOs for the purposes of programme co-operation, knowledge sharing, policy development and resource mobilisation

  • Developing policies, guidance, tools and systems to enable the delivery of humanitarian response

  • Facilitating knowledge management, knowledge transfer and learning across the organisations

  • Establishing security policy and managing security activities for UNICEF, in coordination with other UN agencies

National Committees

National Committees, in close coordination with HQ, ROs and COs, contribute to delivering on the CCCs through fundraising, advocating for child rights and raising public awareness of children’s rights and needs, as well as through their partnerships with governments, national and local authorities, civil society organisations, human rights institutions, the private sector, academic and research institutions,  and local media.

 

In countries and territories where there is a National Committee Office, and no UNICEF office, and where Governments are requesting UNICEF’s support, National Committees and UNICEF may work together to establish a formal agreement defining their respective roles, responsibilities, and the modalities of their collaboration, in order to provide a coordinated response meeting the standards defined in the CCCs.

 

In countries and territories without any UNICEF presence, UNICEF activates and fast-tracks procedures and mechanisms to enable the rapid delivery of humanitarian response, through the timely deployment of financial, human and material resources from HQ, RO, as well as from neighbouring COs, and National Committees when applicable, for a coordinated response meeting the standards defined in the CCCs.

 

In all contexts, with or without UNICEF presence/intervention, Governments, civil society organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders can use the CCCs as a reference to design their humanitarian action and guide their efforts in setting and meeting standards for respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of children and affected populations. 

 
 
 
 

Footnotes

[8] A humanitarian crisis is defined as any circumstance where humanitarian needs are sufficiently large and complex to require significant external assistance and resources, and where a multi-sectoral response is needed, with the engagement of a wide range of international humanitarian actors. This may include smaller-scale emergencies; in countries with limited capacities, the threshold will be lower than in countries with strong capacities. An emergency is a situation that threatens the lives and well-being of large numbers of a population and requires extraordinary action to ensure their survival, care and protection.

[9] UNICEF emergency procedures include the Simplified Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) for Corporate Emergency Activation Procedure in Level 3 Emergencies, UNICEF Procedure on Corporate Emergency Activation for Level 3 Emergencies, UNICEF Procedure on Regional Emergency Activation for Level 2 Emergencies and UNICEF Procedure for Level 2 Emergencies. The SSOPs are undergoing a comprehensive review with a view to developing new emergency procedures for all crises with certain provisions for L2 and L3 emergencies – in line with the CCCs and Humanitarian Review. On 20 March 2020, new emergency procedures were developed for COVID-19 building on the existing L3 SSOPs, as well as new COVID-19 specific guidance.

[10] ICSC Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service and UN Code of Ethics.

 
 
 

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