Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, Remarks at ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment High-Level discussion on: addressing the impact of armed conflict on children – strengthening the response to meet children’s needs


As delivered

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is great to be moderating today’s session.

You will all have seen the 2018 Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, in which he wrote that the current situation of children in armed conflict “reveals a state of unrelenting horror and suffering affecting millions of women, children and men across all conflicts.” In conflict situations, children are disproportionately affected.

Other reports are saying the same thing. A recent report by Save the Children notes that the number of children living in conflict zones has increased by three quarters since the early 1990s when it was around 200 million, to reach more than 357 million children in 2016.

This is around 1 in 6 of the world’s children.

There are multiple ways that children’s lives are ruined by conflict.

They are forced into armed groups.

They are sexually exploited and abused.

They are forced out of their schools.

And they have their childhood robbed from them in multiple other ways.

We could spend whole of this morning’s session listing the abuses against children in situations of armed conflict. But we also have an opportunity here to talk about solutions, and how to tackle some of these problems. So, there are reasons for hope amid all the horror.

I hope that today we are going to hear from organizations on what they are doing to make a difference for children.

Thank you.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit