The world is facing unprecedented compounding crises. The war in Ukraine, the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, a looming economic crisis, energy shortages, the increasing cost of living, and the ongoing effects of climate change and the associated food insecurity have created challenges across the world, and continue to disrupt the lives of children, their families and communities. More than ever, UNICEF needs to understand the implications of the emerging situation to be able to adapt programmes and approaches effectively to achieve the objectives of the 2022–2025 Strategic Plan, especially that of aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNICEF Innocenti directed much of its research and foresight work in 2022 towards generating and supporting the use of quality research and analysis to inform programming for children, prioritizing focus on the most marginalized populations. The office collaborated closely with UNICEF offices and partners in countries, regions and globally, and published research and evidence regularly. The office also facilitated knowledge management on research, including ethics, capacity development and standard-setting for the organization.
Our foresight team undertook horizon-scanning, trend analysis, risk assessments and scenario analysis, making policy recommendations on major global and emerging issues.
Besides this, the office leveraged major reports and convened top thinkers to lead global discourse and to position UNICEF as a thought leader.
The COVID-19 pandemic dominated the landscape for UNICEF Innocenti’s work in 2020, bringing both opportunities and disruptions. The pandemic has underscored the power of utilizing research and evidence in addressing crisis and uncertainty, and in finding solutions to tough global challenges.
Opportunities emerged in the shape of a Rapid Research Response to assess the pandemic’s impact on children, utilizing evidence syntheses, rapid assessment tools and agile communication modalities. In turn, thousands of users were empowered to gain access to UNICEF Innocenti’s research, knowledge management, ethical advice and convening power.
2019 was a year of celebration and achievement for UNICEF Innocenti. It marked the research Centre’s 30th anniversary, which coincided with the 30th year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the global charter of children’s rights. And it was the 600th anniversary of our home, the Istituto degli Innocenti, perhaps the world’s oldest continuously operating institution dedicated to childcare. Throughout 2019, we celebrated several events with our Italian hosts – the Government of Italy, the Regione Toscana, the City of Florence and the Istituto degli Innocenti – to which we are all immensely grateful for their unstinting support over the past three decades. This Annual Report outlines some of our achievements in our key strategic workstreams of research generation, research facilitation, and convening and communication, during 2019.