New report outlines best practices for broader, more effective, and strategic approach to protecting children affected by conflict

NEW YORK, 28 October 2021 – The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) and UNICEF released a new report today, as part of the United Nations’ continuous effort to improve the protection of children living through conflict.

Released as the world approaches the 25th anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate, the report – Consolidated Recommendations from the Regional Consultations on Children and Armed Conflict – outlines best practices and lessons learned in the implementation of the CAAC mandate based on the broadest consultations on the issue ever undertaken with UN field operations and other partners in the field.

The CAAC mandate is an important tool in the international community’s efforts to prevent and end the grave violations against children, including killing and maiming, recruitment and use, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access.

The report was produced jointly by UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, with the support of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), to strengthen the whole of UN-effort in the implementation of the CAAC mandate to advance the protection of conflict-affected children.

Over 30 United Nations entities and other key partners were represented at the four regional consultations organized between 2018 and 2020. The recommendations come from those directly implementing the CAAC mandate in the field, making them particularly relevant.

“The complex political and security contexts in situations on the CAAC agenda as well as the transformations in the means and methods of warfare continues to test the adaptability of partners involved in the protection of conflict-affected children,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.

“Children are always among the most vulnerable in times of conflict, and keeping them safe, and providing the care and protection they so desperately need is core to UNICEF’s work,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Omar Abdi. “These consultations represented a unique opportunity for child protection practitioners in the field to share experiences and best practices, to explore ways to strengthen the whole of UN-effort in implementing the monitoring and reporting mechanism and to identify areas where strengthening our efforts and capacities is required.”

The main objectives of these consultations were to promote a broader UN-engagement on the CAAC mandate among field entities, to exchange lessons learned and best practices within and between regions, to reinforce collaboration with SRSG CAAC at the political level when required, and to identify possible capacity building needs for specific contexts.

The recommendations from participants include for the UN to develop additional practical guidelines for UN entities that participate in the monitoring and reporting of grave child rights violations at field level, to identify capacity gaps in monitoring and documentation of grave child rights violations, and to establish corresponding specific capacity building plans, as well as to elaborate regional and/or sub-regional strategies on CAAC with relevant regional actors.

While the implementation of several recommendations is already ongoing, a comprehensive roll-out plan will be developed, and participants and organizers agreed that such consultations should take place more regularly, ideally every 5 years.

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