Core Commitments

for Children

are the core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action




  • Experienced and suitable personnel are identified within 48 hours after the sudden onset or deterioration of a humanitarian crisis and are deployed through surge mechanisms

1: Timely deployment


Timely deployment of personnel at the onset of emergencies enables rapid emergency response

  • Human resource plans are established for immediate, medium- and longer-term needs, including scale-up, scale-down and exit strategies[116]

2: Planning


ROs, COs and field offices are adequately staffed to enable ongoing humanitarian response

  • Duty of care measures are in place

  • UNICEF personnel receive information on available care/support

3: Wellbeing


Duty of care for UNICEF personnel is assured 

  • Personnel complete applicable mandatory training and have access to supplementary training/learning on emergency preparedness and response

4: Capacity 


UNICEF personnel have appropriate knowledge of emergency preparedness and response

  • Standards of conduct are disseminated and UNICEF personnel complete applicable mandatory training

  • Appropriate and timely action is taken in response to any breaches

  • Leadership promotes a culture that aligns with the organisation’s standards of conduct

  • Complaint and feedback mechanisms are in place and accessible to affected populations and external stakeholders[117]

5: Standards of conduct


UNICEF personnel observe organizational standards of conduct, both as an individual responsibility and an organizational commitment.  These include standards on discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority, child safeguarding and SEA

Key Considerations

  • Optimize the use of internal and external surge mechanisms, including standby partnerships, rosters and other talent-mapping initiatives, to improve UNICEF’s ability to scale up its response at the onset of an emergency and get the right balance of personnel between country and field and/or zonal offices.

  • Diversity factors should be considered in deployment of personnel to allow for more innovative response and adequate representation of beneficiaries, leading to better programmatic outcomes. For certain programmes where the experience of living with disabilities is an asset, the deployment of persons with disabilities should be considered.

  • Consider staffing needs for the medium- to long-term in operations, coordination and programme areas.  Think ahead so that the staffing plan is agile and adaptable.  Bring longer-term staff on board rapidly to ensure continuity in the response, enable an effective exit from the surge mechanism and reduce UNICEF costs.

  • Duty of care measures include a comprehensive pre-deployment package for staff and their families that is responsive to the needs of different employees, including women, LBTQI+ employees and persons with disabilities;  training and support for managers operating in high-risk environments; availability of and access to counselling and peer support for staff in high-risk environments; and identification of consistent standards on working and living conditions for staff deployed in high-risk environments, with specific attention to locally recruited staff and female staff. Extend duty of care measures to non-staff personnel as outlined in the High-Level Committee on Management Duty of Care Guidelines, whenever relevant and feasible.


[105] General Assembly Resolution A/RES/71/1, 2016.

[106] All actions concerning refugees are guided by the 1951 Refugee Convention and its protocol. The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement outline the protections available to internally displaced people.

[107]  These frameworks include: Global Compact on Refugees; Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration;

 Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014 - 2024; Guidance Note of the Secretary General: The United Nations and Statelessness.

[108] Ensure complementarities between the cluster system and other coordination models, including the Refugee Coordination Model and

the Camp Coordination Camp Management, and when necessary refer to the Joint UNHCR-OCHA note on coordination in mixed situation.

[109] Ibid.

[110] See section 2.1.2 above, overarching commitment on coordination.

[111] Community and family-based care, rather than institutionalization such as shelters, should be prioritised.

[112] UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/64/142), Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

[113] Including education, healthcare, nutrition, child protection, mental health and psychosocial support, water and sanitation, shelter, civil registration, leisure, legal aid, social protection, independent representation and guardianship for unaccompanied children.

[114] In accordance with MoUs and other strategic cooperation agreements at country, regional and global level, including with UNHCR and IOM.

[115] Refer to UNHCR (2016) Durable Solutions – Preliminary Operational Guide and IOM (2019) Reintegration Handbook – Practical guidance on the design, implementation and monitoring of reintegration assistance.

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