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Core Commitments

for Children

are the core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action



Strategic Result

Children and their communities benefit from appropriate and timely humanitarian action through needs-based planning and results-based management of programmes



Disaggregated data (by age, gender, disability, location and other context-specific considerations) is collected, analysed and disseminated in all assessment, planning, monitoring and evaluation activities

1: Equity-focused data


Disaggregated data is collected, analysed and disseminated to understand and address the diverse needs, risks and vulnerabilities[28] of children and their communities

  • Needs assessments and analysis are, whenever possible, conducted as joint interagency exercises, and start within 72 hours of a sudden onset crisis, and at least annually for protracted humanitarian situations[29]

  • Needs assessments and analysis are child- and gender-sensitive, meet interagency standards and use pre-crisis data and feedback from affected populations

2: Needs assessment


Coordinated, timely and impartial assessments of the situation, humanitarian assistance and protection needs, vulnerabilities and risks are undertaken

  • Planning is informed by evidence, including needs assessments, vulnerability analysis, pre-crisis data, learning from evaluations/reviews, partner dialogue and feedback from affected populations

  • Indicators and targets are identified, including high frequency indicators

  • Ongoing needs assessment and monitoring plans are in place and reviewed twice a year, addressing coverage, quality, equity and “do no harm”

  • Humanitarian and development programming are linked through preparedness, system strengthening, resilience and transition planning

3: Response planning


Response plans are evidence-based and consistent with interagency planning. They address coverage, quality and equity[30], adapt to evolving needs, ensure conflict sensitivity and link humanitarian and development programming

  • Progress against targets is regularly reported, including through high frequency indicators

  • Structured field monitoring, including partner dialogue and feedback from affected populations, is undertaken in line with the UNICEF Field Monitoring Guidance

  • -> See 3.5 Partnerships with governments and civil society organisations for programme implementation and 2.1.6 AAP

  • Situation Monitoring tracks evolving humanitarian needs at a frequency appropriate to the context

  • Intended and unintended consequences[31]  are monitored, with a focus on equity and conflict sensitivity

4: Monitoring


The humanitarian situation and the coverage, quality and equity of the humanitarian response are monitored to inform ongoing corrective action and future planning processes

  • Evaluations of humanitarian responses are used for organizational learning, accountability and performance improvements to enhance the systems, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners

  • Evaluative exercises, such as after-action reviews, lessons learned exercises and operational peer reviews, are undertaken early for rapid-onset emergencies, or incorporated into regular strategic planning for protracted responses, to inform corrective action

5:  Evaluation


UNICEF’s contribution to humanitarian action is systematically and independently assessed[32] through credible and utilisation-focused evaluations, interagency evaluations and other evaluative exercises[33], in line with

the UNICEF evaluation policy and procedures

Key Considerations


  • Advocate for timely collection and sharing of data and analysis to facilitate needs-based programming, particularly where there are existing gaps or barriers to data collection and sharing.

  • Promote multi-sectoral and integrated planning and programming, including geographic convergence.

  • Advocate for impartial needs assessment to inform response planning and independent monitoring.


Coordination and Partnerships

  • Collaborate with local partners, authorities, CSOs and communities to improve understanding of the context and better access communities and vulnerable groups.

  •   Ensure coordination with other UN agencies, CSOs and national and local authorities through joint assessments, planning, monitoring, evaluation and data sharing to achieve collective results and minimise risks of gaps or duplication.


Quality Programming and Standards

  • Provide neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance based on impartial needs assessments

  • Ensure respect for humanitarian principles throughout the targeting and prioritisation processes, especially in determining service locations and targeting methods. Special care should be taken to avoid only seeking out and assessing populations under the control of a single party to conflict

  • Identify and engage with different groups of people in culturally appropriate ways to collect dis-aggregated data.

  • Optimise the use of credible primary and secondary data sources, including data collected and analysed by other humanitarian actors, pre- and post-crisis data, programme monitoring data, feedback from affected populations, civil society, social media and geo-spatial data.

  • Ensure Results-Based Management of humanitarian action through collection, analysis and use of data, including dis-aggregated data, on the situation of children and their communities and programme implementation to inform planning, programme design, corrective actions and adaptation to changing needs and contexts. 

  • Balance the coverage, quality and equity[34] of programming factoring in operational constraints (e.g. funding, access).  Interventions that are more difficult to measure and those targeting smaller numbers of the most vulnerable children should not be discounted.

See 2.2.3 Equity

  • Align indicators and targets across planning processes and funding appeals to harmonise programming and streamline reporting requirements.

  • Use digital data collection and dissemination to improve the timeliness of data collection and analysis, provided there are adequate safeguards in place for data protection.

  • Ensure ethical data collection, use, storage and sharing in the best interest of the child, as per the Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation, Data Collection, Analysis.

See 1.4.9 Ethical evidence generation and data protection

  • Use third party monitors (TPMs) to overcome capacity or access constraints, and where TPMs have a lower risk profile than UNICEF personnel. Plan and implement capacity-building for TPM to meet UNICEF standards and principles.

  • Ensure UNICEF staff at field, country, regional and HQ levels have the necessary resources and capacities to commission and manage evaluations. Ensure that evidence produced is used to create timely and effective feedback loops into UNICEF programming and operations.

  • Ensure that humanitarian evaluations are of high quality, meet the needs of UNICEF and stakeholders and are well-resourced, effectively planned, designed, managed and conducted. In contexts where inter-agency evaluations (which assess collective outcomes and are not in-depth evaluations of the performance of any specific organisation) are planned, UNICEF should consider lighter evaluative exercises for its own learning and accountability purposes.


Linking humanitarian and development

  • To the extent possible, use or enhance existing national and sub-national data systems and minimise the development of parallel data systems during humanitarian response.

See 2.2.4 Linking humanitarian and development

  • In contexts of conflict, fragility or major challenges to social cohesion, ensure that programmes are informed by a robust conflict analysis.

See 2.2.4 Linking humanitarian and development

  • Undertake reviews and evaluations of UNICEF’s work in linking humanitarian and development on a regular basis to assess how these linkages contribute to improved results for children.


[28] Vulnerability is the extent to which some people may be disproportionately affected by the disruption of their physical environment and social support mechanisms following disaster or conflict. Vulnerability is specific to each person and each situation. Vulnerable groups are those most exposed to risk, and particularly susceptible to the effects of environmental, economic, social and political shocks and hazards. They may include: children, adolescents, women, older people, pregnant adolescents and women, child and female-headed households, people with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, people from marginalised groups and the poorest of the poor, people marginalised by their society due to their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity, disability status, class or caste, political affiliations or religion. The typology of vulnerable groups may evolve depending on contexts and risks.

[29] Initial rapid assessments within 72 hours; sectoral needs assessments within two weeks; Multi-cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) or similar multi-sector needs assessments within four weeks.

[30] Balance coverage, quality and equity: Process which consists in balancing the objective to reach the greatest number of people (coverage) with the objective to reach the people in greatest need (equity), while maintaining quality of programme. This balancing is particularly critical in contexts with limited funding. Coverage is guided by estimates of people in need. Quality is measured against UNICEF and interagency and IASC standards. Equity is judged by appropriate prioritisation of the people most in need, informed by assessment and analysis of

vulnerability and deprivation, and the principle of leaving no child behind.

[31] An intended consequence can refer to a planned programme outcome e.g. increased community participation in humanitarian response planning processes. An unintended consequence can refer to any unforeseen effects e.g. community participation programming that exacerbates existing inequalities by favouring community members with the ability and status to engage in processes and/or increasing women’s time burden. Unintended consequences can be positive or negative.

[32] Against the CCCs, policies, guidelines, UNICEF quality and accountability standards, and stated objectives of humanitarian action.

[33] Evaluative exercises such as after-action reviews and lessons learned exercises may be undertaken internally.

[34] Balance coverage, quality and equity: process which consists in balancing the objective to reach the greatest number of people (coverage) with the objective to reach the people in greatest need (equity), while maintaining quality of programme. This balancing is particularly critical in contexts with limited funding. Coverage is guided by estimates of people in need. Quality is measured against UNICEF and inter-agency and IASC standards. Equity is judged by appropriate prioritisation of the people most in need, informed by assessment and analysis of

vulnerability and deprivation, and the principle of leaving no child behind.

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