I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia.
We thank Special Representative Gamba for her presentation and all UN child protection actors for their tireless work.
Your report provides an alarming reflection of the impact of conflict on children, as the level of grave violations against them continues to be high in conflicts around the world. We appreciate your focus on the significant and concerning increase in the abductions of children as well as sexual violence, which are often combined with other violations. We condemn the targeted attacks against girls’ schools and women educators, which undermines girls’ right to education. As the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the risks for children affected by conflict, we underline the importance of the fact that the monitoring and verification of grave violations has continued in accordance with the verification standards of the MRM.
The analysis led by your office of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the violations against children, their monitoring and reporting, as well as on the engagement with parties to conflict has been necessary and timely. We also welcome the innovative working methods adopted by the country monitoring task forces to continue their work. What do you see as the main risks and challenges brought by the pandemic in the mid- and long-term?
In looking at the 25 years of your mandate in perspective, you identify several key elements for improving the protection of children affected by conflict, including mainstreaming child protection issues and as well ensuring sufficient protection capacity. Could you elaborate on the challenges brought by the emerging issues and the changing nature of conflict for your mandate?