Action plans to prevent and end violations against children: The Role of action plans in the UN’s Children and armed conflict agenda
The inclusion of children and armed conflict (CAAC) in the agenda of the Security Council is a vital step towards protecting children in situations of armed conflict from some of the most egregious violations of their rights. The successes of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) have been well documented; to date, a total of 23 action plans have been adopted by 21 parties to armed conflict (two parties having concluded two action plans).
The 11th Report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (2012) listed 32 persistent perpetrators of grave violations against children– that is, those who were perpetrators for a period of five years or longer -, and proposed measures to increase pressure on these perpetrators to end violations. One of the recommendations focused on action plans, an important tool in preventing and ending violations.
This discussion paper examines the key elements that lead to the adoption of action plans. It examines the challenges encountered in action plan implementation, and it suggests recommendations for addressing these challenges. The paper also highlights the need for the UN to engage with non-State armed groups for the purposes of action plan adoption and implementation. Finally, the paper suggests ways in which action plans can be further used to promote accountability.
In preparing this paper, Watchlist conducted 49 qualitative interviews with members of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, UN agencies and offices at UN headquarters and at the country-level, nongovernmental organizations, diplomatic missions and independent experts.
The findings and recommendations are meant to inform discussion regarding the next steps the UN could take, both at headquarters and in the field, to further improve the protection of children affected by armed conflict.