Deliver Humanitarian Aid

UN entities with a primary responsibility for delivering humanitarian aid

One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character.” The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild.

The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief of emergencies due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.

UN entities with a primary responsibility for delivering humanitarian aid

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have primary roles in the delivery of relief assistance. The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates the response to humanitarian health emergencies.

Helping refugees

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by that conflict. The agency leads and coordinates international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.

The General Assembly created the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide emergency relief to some 750,000 Palestine refugees, who had lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

The UN General Assembly hosted a high-level meeting on 19 September 2016 to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.

Helping children

Since its beginning, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has strived to reach as many children as possible with effective, low-cost solutions to counter the biggest threats to their survival. UNICEF also consistently urges governments and warring parties to act more effectively to protect children.

The Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action – the CCCs – are the core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action. They are at the heart of UNICEF’s work on upholding the rights of children affected by humanitarian crises. The CCCs promote equality, transparency, responsibility and a results-oriented approach to enable predictable and timely collective humanitarian action.

Feeding the hungry

The World Food Programme (WFP) provides relief to millions of people, who are victims of disasters. It is responsible for mobilizing food and funds for transport for all large-scale refugee-feeding operations managed by UNHCR.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is often called on to help farmers re-establish production following floods, outbreaks of livestock disease and similar emergencies.

The FAO Global Information and Early Warning System issues monthly reports on the world food situation. Special alerts identify, for Governments and relief organizations, countries threatened by food shortages.

“Each day I wake up in the hope of bringing about change. A change in the life of someone in need.” The psychosocial camp counsellor for Atma IDP camp, herself displaced since 2012, visits displaced families every day to talk about their stresses and offer support to children who have lost their parents. ©OCHA

2020: A year of unprecedented need around the world. CERF met the challenge – allocating a record $900 million, it delivered life-saving assistance in 52 countries with unparalleled speed. CERF provided a record $225 million to 20 underfunded and neglected crises. First ever global pandemic allocation. First ever allocation to NGOs, CERF helped humanitarian partners reach those in greatest need. ©CERF

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