In 2020, the armed conflict and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continued affecting millions of people in eastern Ukraine, especially children, young people and people with disabilities living in both the government (GCA) and non-government (NGCA) controlled areas. Despite relative calm after the July 2020 ceasefire agreement, the conflict continued to claim civilian casualties, including many children who became victims to mines and other unexploded ordnances. After a few weeks of reduced violence, the situation again escalated significantly towards the end of the year, increasing risks for civilian infrastructure.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak continued to generate an additional burden on already weak healthcare services, and as a result the health system was unable to fully render appropriate medical services to the population in need. The pandemic and related restrictions have significantly hampered humanitarian access to most needy communities.
In 2020, UNICEF received USD 7.1 million, out of a USD 9.8 million appeal, with a funding gap of 14 per cent. The education and HIV/AIDS programmes remained significantly underfunded, reducing UNICEF’s abilities to support thousands of children and their families. Despite significant challenges, more than 640,000 conflict-affected people benefitted from UNICEF’s humanitarian response programme in Ukraine.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF has appealed for USD 9.8 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for children and women in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine. Since the beginning of 2020, the governments of the United States, Germany, Italy, and Estonia, as well as ECHO have generously contributed to UNICEF Ukraine’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal. UNICEF also expresses its gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received to date. Although the UNICEF 2020 HAC has been funded by over 85 per cent, at the end of 2020 significant gaps still remained in the Education and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) sectors. This resulted in UNICEF not being able to reach out to all children with their education needs.
In 2020 UNICEF remained committed to expanding services to people affected by the crisis. UNICEF in coordination with other humanitarian organizations continued strengthening social and psychosocial support, as well as health, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. UNICEF continued work to ensure the sustainability of its interventions, prioritizing capacity building of the service providers and facilitating coordination among humanitarian actors to ensure effective results for children.
UNICEF continued to support training of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals on infection diseases control, which proved important in the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF also systematically built the capacity of education specialists to increase resilience of the system and promote the safe school concept. In partnership with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UNICEF continued to provide critical services to the affected population by combing online and off-line approaches to reach the targeted population with important messages on psycho-social services (PSS), mine risk prevention and gender-based violence (GBV).
UNICEF continued using social media and digital platforms to engage and empower the targeted population. Continuous dialogue with local authorities in both sides of the LoC proved to be critical to facilitate advancing UNICEF’s work and reach the most vulnerable children and their families.