Brussels/New York – The importance of including the protection of children into peace negotiation and mediation efforts is at the heart of a high-level consultation with renowned diplomats and senior officials in Brussels this week. The consultation is conducted in collaboration with the European Institute of Peace and through the generous support of the Government of Belgium.
This consultation is part of a wider effort led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and her Office, in partnership with the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the Department of Peace Operations, UNICEF, and other stakeholders, to develop a practical guidance on the issue. An earlier consultation between UN agencies was undertaken in Geneva in November 2018.
“Child protection plays a crucial role in peacebuilding and is essential to ensure sustainable peace. This consultation is an opportunity to bring together the highest levels of expertise in the fields of mediation and child protection to share lessons learned and good practices and strengthen the dialogue and exchange between these two worlds,” said SRSG Virginia Gamba.
In its Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2017/21), the Security Council, under the chairmanship of Sweden, encouraged the Special Representative to develop, together with relevant child protection actors, a practical guidance on the integration of child protection issues in peace processes; the guidance will be launched at the beginning of 2020. It aims to highlight the added value of including child protection issues in peace processes and ensure that mediators, facilitators and guarantors take these issues into consideration at the earliest stages of the negotiations.
The guidance will also include concrete examples of situations in which child protection issues were successfully integrated into peace processes and peace agreements, with tangible results for children such as their release from armed forces or groups and their reintegration into civilian life.
“Though it is crucial to include child protection provisions at the early stage of peace processes, it is never too late to integrate them as such dispositions can also be included in the implementation of peace agreements,” said Lena Sundh from Sweden, currently Chair of the International Commission of Inquiry for Mali who was part of the consultation.
In post-conflict environments, addressing injustice and impunity, including for grave violations against children, is a fundamental part of the recovery and peacebuilding process. Moreover, children as the future generation will play an important role to ensure that the conditions for sustainable peace are met, added SRSG Virginia Gamba.
The consultation showcased a vast variety of experiences from multiple contexts at the global level including Yemen, Colombia, South Sudan and Nepal.
Note to editors
Since 1999, the United Nations’ Security Council has been calling upon Member States, United Nations entities, the Peacebuilding Commission, and other parties concerned to integrate child protection provisions into all peace negotiations, ceasefire and peace agreements and to take into account children’s views, where possible, in these processes (S/RES/2225 (2015); S/RES/2143 (2014); S/PRST/2013/8 (2013); S/RES/1998, (2011); S/RES/1882 (2009); S/RES/1674 (2006); S/RES/1612 (2005); S/RES/1261 (1999).
The Security Council reiterated through a Statement by its President on 31 October 2017 (S/PRST/2017/21) that “the protection of children in armed conflict should be an important aspect of any comprehensive strategy to resolve conflict and sustain peace”.
For additional information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict +1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / firstname.lastname@example.org