Watchlist’s Partnerships Program supports local civil society in conflict-affected countries in its efforts to monitor and report on grave violations of children’s rights and advocate on the behalf of children at local, national, and global levels. Together with its partners, Watchlist continuously seeks to build knowledge on best practices in implementing the UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) and to find ways to further strengthen the protection of children in situations of armed conflict.
Watchlist establishes partnerships with local civil society organizations that monitor and report on grave violations of children’s rights in situations of armed conflict, and advocate for an appropriate response. Through its partnerships, Watchlist seeks to ensure that local civil society—who play a vital role in the protection of children given their familiarity, access, and sustained presence—are well-equipped to participate in the UN-led MRM. Since 2005, Watchlist has supported projects in Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Nigeria.
While the MRM is a UN-led process, the mechanism is stronger when it benefits from the participation of civil society. Local civil society actors act as first responders to child rights violations. They enjoy the trust of local communities. They are present in places otherwise inaccessible to the United Nations and other international actors, and they will remain active in their communities even after conflict has ended. Still, local civil society faces certain challenges. Some NGOs are reluctant to report on abuses out of fear of reprisals. Others may lack the technical and financial capacity to do so. Or, they may not see the benefit of reporting to the MRM if there is little perceived return in terms of immediate response or impact for victims and survivors.
Drawing on its continuous analysis of partners’ experiences, Watchlist has developed practical guidance for civil society on how to meaningfully engage with the UN-led MRM and uses it as the basis for field-based trainings.
In order to advance technical debates and influence targeted policy outcomes, Watchlist produces periodic think pieces, accompanied with recommendations, on the field-based implementation of the MRM. We use our publications as tools for institutional advocacy and broadly disseminate our publications to relevant policymakers at the UN, including Member States and agencies, and more broadly among practitioners working on child protection worldwide.