On July 5, 2023, the United Nations Security Council held its annual open debate on children and armed conflict (CAAC) under the United Kingdom’s presidency. At the open debate, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) Virginia Gamba presented the Secretary-General’s (SG) annual report on CAAC (A/77/859-S/2023/363), covering the period from January 1 to December 31, 2022. The open debate offered an opportunity for UN Members States to discuss the implementation of the CAAC agenda, with a particular focus on the following topics: (i) effective strategies and approaches in preventing and responding to grave violations against children; (ii) how existing successful initiatives to protect children can be scaled up; (iii) what innovative and new approaches can be piloted to better protect children in conflict; and (iv) how to ensure age- and gender-sensitive, child-centered approaches.

In addition to the SRSG-CAAC, the Deputy Director for Programs at UNICEF, Mr. Omar Abdi, briefed the Council alongside a 17-year-old child representative, Ms. Violeta*, who spoke on behalf of civil society. Ms. Violeta was the second girl child to brief a Security Council open debate on CAAC and the first to do so in person.

Read the detailed review and analysis here.

Photo: © UN Photo/Loey Felipe