From 5 to 7 November, the UNICEF-led global Child Protection Working Group held its annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. One highlight was an expert panel discussion on what’s being done to protect girls and boys in current emergencies: the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Ebola.
Questions came from the audience in Geneva, as well as practitioners in Colombia, Iraq, China and the USA via Twitter (@CPIE_Global and #14CPWG).
Topics covered included innovations and good practice, such as the use of radio in South Sudan to promote child protection messages and reduce the numbers of unaccompanied and separated children. Participants working in Iraq discussed the challenges in the provision of essential psychosocial support to children on the move, and the importance of a mobile approach. In the Central African Republic, practitioners stressed the importance of strengthening community-based mechanisms to protect boys and girls at risk. In Syria, with 10.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance (almost half the population), the importance of mainstreaming was emphasized – bringing a child protection perspective to all humanitarian action. In terms of the Ebola response, where more than 7000 children have lost at least one parent, it was suggested that the serious, long-term impacts required urgent attention.
All agreed on the need to work with the Child Protection Minimum Standards, as a key tool and reference document for humanitarians worldwide.