The African Union Commission (AUC) organized a virtual meeting of the Coordination Group on Children in Situations of Conflict on 2 August 2022. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; the AUC Political Affairs Peace and Security (PAPS) Department; the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Save the Children; United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR); International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Dallaire Institute for Children; World Vision International; Plan International; and ACCORD attended and contributed to the meeting.
The partners discussed the progress made since the adoption of the Policy on Mainstreaming Child Protection in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the Child Protection Policy for AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs); as well as the upcoming training of the Committee of Experts of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Children in Situations of Conflict were discussed. The AUC aims to reintroduce trainings on Child Protection in PSOs. These trainings will focus on the specific organs mentioned in the two policies, the first of which will be conducted for the Committee of Experts of the PSC.
The Coordination Group also discussed the PSC Virtual Open Session on Children Affected by Armed Conflict that will focus on Sexual Violence; and Incidents of Denial of Humanitarian Access. Further consideration was given to the International Day to Protect Education from Attack which is annually commemorated on 9 September, where after they agreed to issue out a joint statement by the group. The statement will be shared on various online platforms as a tool for awareness raising not only on education but on child protection as well. The meeting platform also afforded the time to discuss the planning of the annual in-person Coordination Group meeting; as well as the challenges faced by the AU office.
The Coordination Group will continue to meet regularly to discuss progress made on the implementation of child protection activities. Through the Training for Peace (TfP) in Africa Programme, ACCORD continues to support the AU’s concerted efforts in the protection of children in armed conflict. The TfP Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.