There is a rapidly growing understanding of the interplay between security management and overall management of humanitarian assistance. Given the need to operate in high threat environments, UNICEF is challenged to flexibly manage humanitarian action. However, the experiences so far with remote programming in UNICEF have been a process of learning by doing.
Where UNICEF's humanitarian access is hindered due to high security threat environments or as a result of restrictions imposed by authorities or other actors, it becomes critical to adopt innovative approaches in order to deliver on UNICEF's mandate and the CCCs. Remote programming is an option that staff and managers must consider because, in many instances, the negative consequences of suspending UNICEF activities would outweigh the (non-security) risks of implementing the remote programming modality.
Looking for support?
To request support, further guidance, resources for learning, group training (e.g. workshop, webinar) or one-on-one training on remote programming, contact EMOPS' Humanitarian Policy Section.
Policy and Standards
Guidelines and Tools
- Normative Frameworks
- UNICEF Guidance
- More Guidance
- Learning & Training
- Case Studies
- What is Remote Programming? UNICEF 2012, (From draft Programme Guidance Note)
- Remote Programming Modalities Within the UN System, UNICEF 2012, (From draft Programme Guidance Note)
Learning & Training
- To request further guidance, resources for learning, group training (e.g. workshop, webinar) or one-on-one training on remote programming, contact EMOPS' Humanitarian Policy Section.
Lessons Learned on Remote Programming
Building Country Office (CO) Capacity
- In building CO capacity for negotiation with NSEs, start with a specific analysis of capacities within the CO team. (See checklist of capacities.)
- In building CO capacity to enage with NSEs, some form of external coaching service for direct engagement negotiation is needed.
- In building CO capacity to engage with NSEs, there is a need to capture opportunities to continuously build capacity and change attitudes and office culture.
- In building CO capacity to engage with NSEs/NSAs, establish a formal core negotiation team as a support to field staff in direct engagement.
- It is important to use a mixture of different modalities of engagement, according to CO and partners' capacity and the dynamics between state and NSE. (See options.)
- In dealing with NSEs, pre-negotiations may be necessary for UNICEF and other humanitarian partners to explain their mandate and commitment to humanitarian principles.
- UNICEF can play an important role within the Humanitarian Country Team or other coordinating bodies, in bringing together different perspectives vis-a-vis engagement.
- The existence of UN system wide basic operating guidelines for engagement with NSEs can make it easier for UNICEF to focus on mandate-specific engagement.
- In Integrated Missions, the exposure/experience to child rights issues among the team members supporting the SRSG are potentially more important than the exposure of the SRSG him/herself.
- When the number of NSEs is overwhelming to engage with, focusing on simple, alternative strategies can be useful.
- Strong advocacy requires a balance between challenging governments and/or NSEs and preserving relations to maintain access.
- In engaging with NSEs, UNICEF must not only be neutral but be perceived as neutral; this requires balancing public messages, including those on non-conflict related children's issues.
- Not all incidents require a statement, but when an incident signals a policy or strategy shift by NSE or Government that adversely affects children, UNICEF most likely needs to make a statement and bring the issue out to the public.
- Strategically planned joint advocacy is important, providing strength in numbers, although this can create some external resistance to UNICEF using its independent voice.
- Direct engagement can present sudden opportunities; it is important to have worked through concrete plans with NSEs for key strategic activities so be ready to seize these.
- Empowering communities to engage with the parties to the conflict to protect the rights of children and women is feasible but requires certain conditions and sustained CO effort.
- It may be necessary to engage NSE senior leaders at decentralized (district) level.
- In conflict contexts, indirect engagement through partners can provide greater reach than UNICEF or partners alone could achieve.
- Effective engagement with NSEs requires a good system of information/knowledge management; for example, tracking individual contacts and child rights violations.
- Advocacy and engagement with non-state entities -- Nepal 2002-2006 (EMOPS Debriefing Series, Lessons Learned on Emergency Response by UNICEF Senior Leaders - March 2007)
Engagement Strategy and Modalities
Key Risk Reduction & Recovery Resources
- Technical Note on Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding, UNICEF, 2012
- Conflict-Sensitive Education Reference Tool, INEE, 2012
- Peacebuilding Brief, UNICEF, 2010
- Sphere Standards, "Do No Harm", p33
- Conflict-Sensitive Education Pack, INEE
- FAQ UN Integration, UNICEF, 2015
- Technical Guidance Note on Working with UN Integrated Presences, UNICEF, 2014
- Emergency Risk Informed Programming Section of Sit-An Guidance, UNICEF, 2012
- Programme Guidance on DRR, UNICEF, 2011
- Emergency Risk Informed Programming Process, UNICEF, 2010
- Guidance on Integrating DRR in CCA/UNDAF, UNDG, 2009