posted on Mon 2 May 2011 4:43 PM
Insights on Children and Armed Conflict

This afternoon (2 May) the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict will have a formal meeting where it is expected to adopt its conclusions on Chad and Afghanistan. At the start of the meeting Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, is expected to brief the members of the Working Group on Côte d’Ivoire and Libya. She will also introduce the Secretary-General’s report on CAR, which will be the next report the Working Group will consider. Also on the agenda for this afternoon is a briefing by the Belgian ambassador in his capacity as chair of the CAR country-specific configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.

The Secretary-General’s reports on Chad and Afghanistan were published on 11 February and 16 February respectively. The Working Group adopted its conclusions on DRC and Somalia at a meeting on 8 March, where it was also briefed on the Chad and Afghanistan reports. It began discussions on these two reports in early March. The aim had been to have the conclusions adopted around the middle of April but negotiations on the conclusions were disrupted at times during the month due to difficulties finding space and translators.

While members of the Working Group had no substantive problems with the Chad conclusions, the conclusions on Afghanistan proved more difficult. One of the more complicated issues was how to reference the overall increase in civilian casualties while also indicating that the number killed by ISAF have decreased. Another issue that needed some negotiation was how to reflect cross-border issues. However it appears that a strong desire among the members of the Working Group to try and adhere as closely as possible to the deadlines agreed on earlier in the year led to members meeting almost daily in the last week in informal sessions to work out their differences on the Afghanistan conclusions.