Level-3 and Level-2 Emergencies (and UNICEF Emergency Procedures)

The global humanitarian landscape is characterized by four main types of emergencies: complex/protracted crises, sudden-onset or slow-onset disasters, public health emergencies, large scale refugee and migration crises. Principled, timely, quality and child-centred humanitarian action and advocacy is at the core of UNICEF’s emergency response in line with the Core Commitments for Children (CCCs).


The determination of a Level 3 or Level 2 emergency is made based on scale; urgency; complexity; and capacity of Regional Office (RO) and Country Offices (COs) affected by the crisis.

  • Level-2 Emergency Response: CO needs additional support from other parts of the organisation (HQ, RO and other COs) to scale up and respond to the crisis. The Regional Director (RD) will provide leadership and RO support is enhanced.

  • Level-3 Emergency Response: The Executive Director declares that organisation-wide mobilization is needed to scale up and respond and appoints a Global Emergency Coordinator (GEC). RO support to the CO is enhanced.


UNICEF Emergency Procedures are activated to ensure a timely and effective response to crises. UNICEF is currently developing new procedures that will apply to all crises and replace the L3/L2 SSOPs when finalized.

Current Level-3 Emergencies

Current Level-2 Emergencies