The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, comprised of all Security Council Members, was established by Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005). Its functions are:
- To review country reports of the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism established by Resolution 1612 and adopt conclusions with recommendations in relation to particular situations;
- To review progress in the development and implementation of action plans to halt violations against children;
- To make recommendations to the Security Council on possible measures to promote the protection of children affected by armed conflict, including through recommendations on appropriate mandates for peacekeeping missions and recommendations with respect to the parties to the conflict;
- To address requests, as appropriate, to other bodies within the United Nations system for action with their respective mandates.
The potential actions that can be taken by the Working Group are outlined in a “toolkit” and include letters or appeals to parties concerned, demarches to armed forces or groups, information briefings by experts, open or closed meetings with parties concerned, submission of information to existing UN Sanctions Committees, and field visits by either the UN Security Council or the Working Group.
Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, together with its partners, carries out targeted advocacy around the Working Group’s consideration of country reports with the aim of ensuring the most effective possible recommendations in the Working Group’s conclusions. For Watchlist advocacy in relation to specific country situations, click here.
The effectiveness of the Working Group is challenged both by delays in negotiations, limiting the number of country situations that can be considered by the Working Group, and by difficulties in achieving consensus on robust actions. On an annual basis, Watchlist evaluates the Working Group’s use of its ‘Toolkit’ and the negotiation time it takes the Working Group to complete each country-specific situation. These reports provide recommendations for improvements. In January 2013, Watchlist published its most recent update on the Working Group’s working methods, covering the period from 2006 to 2012.
Watchlist also supports other efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Working Group. In February 2013, Watchlist, together with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University, held a workshop on the subject of “Children and Armed Conflict?: How to Deal with Persistent Perpetrators?”. This workshop looked, inter alia, at strengthening the role of the Working Group. A second workshop was held in Princeton in December 2013, regarding Strengthening Implementation of the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda, with specific recommendations to the Working Group.