Norway pledges NOK 1 billion for protection of children in armed conflict

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‘Norway will provide at least NOK 1 billion over the next three years to protect children living in situations of war and conflict. This is one of the most pressing political and humanitarian concerns today, and yet it remains one of the most neglected,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

This week, representatives of many countries and organisations gathered in Norway and made commitments to follow up efforts to protect children in armed conflict.

‘I am pleased that more countries and organisations have now registered concrete commitments to enhance protection of children. Children are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse in situations of war and conflict,’ said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

The international conference Protecting Children in Armed Conflict – Our Common Future was organised by Norway together with UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Save the Children International and the African Union (AU).

‘Norway will continue its efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence, especially when this affects children,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

Participants at the conference included the foreign ministers of Somalia, Gambia, South Sudan, Niger and Mozambique, leaders from UNICEF, the ICRC and Save the Children International, as well as representatives of the AU and EU.

‘It is vital for us to have constructive, multi-year cooperation with humanitarian organisations and other countries. The AU is one of our key partners, including when it comes to protecting children,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

The purpose of the conference was to mobilise action, and also to show that advocacy efforts can yield positive results.

‘Former child soldiers are being re-integrated into society. Schools are no longer being used as military facilities and are thus at less risk of attack. It is vital that countries exchange experience and employ tools that have proved to be effective,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

The conference was part of the follow-up both to Norway’s efforts during its term on the UN Security Council in 2021–2022, and to Norway’s Humanitarian Strategy, where protection of civilians, including children, is one of the key priority areas.

Norway’s commitments at the international conference Protecting Children in Armed Conflict – Our Common Future:

  • to provide NOK 1 billion over a three-year period for the protection of children in armed conflict;
  • to further develop multi-year partnerships;
  • to work to ensure that protection of children is incorporated into the efforts to follow up the political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and is included on the agenda of the first follow-up conference, which Norway will be hosting in 2024;
  • to give priority to the issue of displaced children at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023 in Geneva;
  • to continue efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence, including maintaining a focus on issues of particular relevance to the protection of children;
  • to further develop Norway’s partnership with the AU, and enhance the focus on children;
  • to follow up the implementation of the conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict adopted when Norway was chair;
  • to incorporate perspectives relating to the protection of children into the work on a new humanitarian strategy.