The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination co-convened a one-day policy workshop, "Priorities for the UN's Children and Armed Conflict Agenda, 2020," on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at the Princeton Club of New York. The workshop was co-convened with the NGO Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict and discussed specific, concrete, and targeted actions that can be taken within the framework of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) agenda to improve and strengthen the agenda and UN responses to grave violations against children. This was the sixth annual policy workshop co-convened by LISD and Watchlist bringing together Security Council members, other UN Member States, relevant UN departments and offices, civil society representatives, academics, and other key constitutents, to assess and consider key priorities of the CAAC agenda for the upcoming year.
The workshop began with a status update on the Children and Armed Conflict agenda by Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, followed by three working sessions. The first session highlighted ongoing challenges and concerns impacting the implementation of the CAAC agenda. These included effective monitoring, reporting, and response to grave violations on the ground; engagement with non-State armed actors; the development and signing of action plans to end and prevent grave violations against children; addressing persistent perpetrators; and child protection capacity on the ground, including during mission drawdown and transitions. The second session focused on emerging concerns and situations with implications for the CAAC agenda moving forward. Presentations focused on military detention of children in the context of armed conflict, the impacts on children of efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism, sexual violence against children (girls and boys), attacks on education, and links to other grave violations, and emerging situations of concern. Participants discussed the implication of these situations and how the CAAC agenda can address the evolving needs of children caught up in armed conflicts. The third session featured reflections by H.E. Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations, on the first year of Belgium’s chairmanship of the Working Group on CAAC. Participants discussed the state of the Working Group agenda, challenging negotiations, and working methods and effective use of the toolkit, and brainstorm priorities for this year.
In a closing wrap-up session, participants drew our recommendations from the previous sessions, and and exchangeed views on how to best to take forward key workshop findings in 2020. A report of workshop findings will be circulated.