Closing statement at the conference on protecting children in armed conflict

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt’s closing statement at the conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, 6 June 2023. Norway hosted the conference that took place in Oslo, Norway.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, we started building a stronger community for the protection of children in armed conflict.

Inspiring statements and discussions yesterday and today have made us wiser. Speakers have shared their experiences and good practices.

Many participants mentioned the importance of prevention.

We must work in parallel:

  • to prevent conflicts overall, as children will always suffer the most
  • to prevent the suffering of children when conflicts strike
  • and to provide support to children when war rages

To this end, solid funding is required.

We have also heard states and organisations make solid commitments.

Mozambique had several. I would like to highlight the following: Ensure that children recruited or used by military or terrorist groups are demobilized or released. And ensure that appropriate assistance is provided for their recovery, as well as their social re-integration without discrimination.

The African Union made a number of commitments to strengthen the protection of children.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is joining the Global Commitment.

Street Child Italy committed to strengthen the resilience and lifesaving skills of children affected by armed conflict. And to support the safe socio-economic reintegration of children in protective families and communities.

The Grassroot Empowerment & Development Organization committed to ensure that children in the conflict zones where they operate are protected and assisted to recover from trauma and other consequences of conflict.

Earlier today, Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council underlined the importance of presence. We simply cannot protect children if we are not there to protect them. Presence also means that we need to speak to all parties that harm children.

My colleague from Niger expressed his government’s commitment to treating children as victims, no matter what they have been forced to do.



Protecting children in conflict is a fundamental responsibility of all states and all communities.

It requires cooperation on all levels, with contributions from civil society, international, regional, and local organisations.

Yesterday, I invited everyone to use this conference to bolster these partnerships. I believe that we have done so.

I would like to thank all of you, and in particular our partners, UNICEF, Save the Children, ICRC, the Office of Special Representative Gamba, the African Union and OCHA.

We could not have done this without you.

In addition to organizing the conference with us, you are the ones who work hard every day to protect children in conflict zones.

Your efforts enable progress towards our common goal: that children are safe and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Thank you.