• The new Government of National Unity (GNU) took office as the single unified executive authority in the country following the Libyan House of Representatives’ vote of confidence in March 2021.
• Libya’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is ongoing, following the arrival of the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines in April 2021, with 381,264 people reached with at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of June 2021. The country’s National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign will also target all non-Libyans, irrespective of their legal residency status.
• UNICEF Libya’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) Appeal for 2021 called for US$60.5 million to reach 468,000 children across Libya. The UNICEF humanitarian response remains underfunded, with a funding gap of 73.95 per cent.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF’s humanitarian programmes in Libya aim to assist the most vulnerable children and families in collaboration with government ministries, 11 national and international non-governmental organisations and the UN agencies. In 2021, UNICEF is appealing for US$ 60.5 million to provide emergency and lifesaving services to 468,000 vulnerable children, including conflict-affected children and their families. As of June 2021, the appeal had a critical funding gap of almost 74 per cent or US$49.7 million, across all sectors. Child protection and Education are the most underfunded sectors, with funding gaps of almost 90 per cent, while water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and health and nutrition are also severely underfunded, with gaps of 85 per cent and almost 70 per cent respectively.
In 2021, UNICEF’s humanitarian preparedness and response for Libya is generously supported by the Education Cannot Wait Fund, the European Union, the Governments of Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden, and the United States of America.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In the first half of 2021, the country experienced relative stability due to recent political and socioeconomic developments. The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) proceedings, facilitated by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), led to electing a new Presidential Council and Prime Minister in February 2021. A month later, the Libyan House of Representatives approved the newly formed Government of National Unity (GNU) to act as the country's single unified executive authority.
Despite the cessation of hostilities between warring factions, and the relative political and economic progress, the humanitarian situation in the country remains dire as the population in the country continues to suffer from the aftermath of the instability plaguing Libya for more than a decade. According to the UN-led Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) of 2021, around 1.3 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance, with 35 per cent of them being children.
Humanitarian actors in the country projected 480,000 children would require humanitarian assistance in the form of healthcare1 . Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is placing additional strain on the country’s weakened healthcare system and services. The Libyan National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported that as of 30 June, the total number of cases reached 193,905. The NCDC is combatting the spread of the virus by expanding the national vaccination campaign that commenced in April 2021. The campaign will also include all non-Libyans, irrespective of their legal residency status. UNICEF, through COVAX, supported the Libyan government with the delivery of 175,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
There is a continuing need for humanitarian support to allow children broader access to basic services, including quality education and development. In February 2021, the Ministry of Education officially announced the re-opening of schools across the country following the implementation of relevant Infection Prevention Control (IPC) measures to ensure the safety of school students. According to the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (2021), 316,000 children require education support.
Libya is considered one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Conflict, dependency on non-renewable water sources and climate change caused a severe decline in access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and facilities in the country. In 2021, 156 wells were rendered out of service2 , and the country’s eight desalination plants are poorly maintained, causing them to operate at only 27 per cent of their total capacity3 .
According to the HRP, 175,200 children require assistance with WASH.
The recent IOM migrant report demonstrates an increase in the total number of migrants in Libya compared to the first quarter of 2021. As of April 2021, 591,415 migrants currently reside in the country, including 11,828 unaccompanied children4 . Migrants continue to come to Libya in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The latest figures published by the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) shows that since the start of the year, 19,393 people, including 668 children (199 girls, 469 boys)5 were intercepted at sea and returned to the country by the Libyan Coast Guard. Most of these children were subjected to arbitrary detention inside centres run by the Ministry of Interior’s Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM).