On July 9, the UN Security Council will hold its annual Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict (CAC) at United Nations Headquarters in New York under the presidency of Sweden, chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (SCWG-CAAC). The debate follows the June 27 release of the Secretary-General’s (SG) annual report on children and armed conflict (“annual report”), which reviews the verified violations against children in conflict situations in the year prior and lists their perpetrators. The 2018 annual report lists 66 parties to conflict for violations against children and reviews 20 conflict situations, including 5 situations not on the Council agenda.

Swedish Ambassador Olof B. Skoog announced the debate’s theme, “Protecting Children Today Prevents Conflicts Tomorrow,” on June 11 at a meeting with UNICEF. The debate will be chaired by H.E. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden. During the debate, Council Members will be briefed by Ms. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Ms. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF; as well as a civil society briefer from Colombia. Following the briefing, Security Council Members, other Member States, as well as regional bodies on a voluntary basis will have the opportunity to deliver a statement.

With a view towards the Open Debate, Watchlist released a Special Bulletin with recommendations to the Security Council and Member States to continue to move the CAC agenda forward. These include primary calls for accurate and credible listing of perpetrators of grave violations; more effective monitoring, reporting, and response to child rights violations; the signing and implementation of more UN action plans with armed forces and groups listed in the annual report; and greater accountability for perpetrators. The bulletin also urges the maintenance of child protection capacity in peace missions and calls for more transparent and impartial listing of perpetrators in the annual report.

On the day of the debate, Watchlist will be live-tweeting from the Council floor. Interested audiences can follow along on Twitter (@1612Watchlist) as well as watch the debate live on webtv.un.org/. Watchlist will publish an analysis following the debate.