9th High-Level Cross-Regional Round Table focuses on a Year of Key Opportunities for the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Children

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 28 February 2019 – “In November 2019, we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But we must not let this be simply a symbolic celebration! It must instead become a turning point in our efforts to translate the Convention into a reality for every child. This year’s global and regional milestones in the review processes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be seized as an opportunity to ensure that the rights of children and their protection from violence are kept front and center,” urged SRSG Santos Pais at the opening of the 9th High-Level Cross-Regional Round Table on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Children. “Regional organizations are strategic partners in this endeavor and the annual Cross Regional Round Table is a unique platform to shape a common strategy to give children’s protection from violence the high priority it deserves”, she added. 

The SRSG highlighted the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July as a special milestone in the global movement to build a world free from fear and from violence for every child. The HLPF will review progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and will devote distinct attention to SDG 16 and its target 16.2 on ending violence against children, as well as to the other violence-related SDG targets. It is followed in September by the first Summit organized under the auspices of the General Assembly to review progress in the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

These global review processes are an opportunity to document the progress there has been in strengthening the protection of children from violence while also mobilizing accelerated action. 

The 9th High-Level Cross-Regional Round Table was co-organized by the Office of the SRSG-VAC and the African Child Policy Forum and took place from 26-28 February in Addis Ababa at the headquarters of the African Union.

The thematic focus of this year’s roundtable was the risks of violence faced by children on the move. The recent adoption of the two Global Compacts on Migration, and on Refugees, provided an important foundation to guide the regional organizations’ reflections on how to strengthen the protection of children on the move. Participants discussed how to best support implementation and follow-up at the regional and national levels to these crucial standards, and to promote a continuum of protection for the children concerned. The discussions taking place in Addis were timely as the Africa Union is promoting 2019 as the “Year of Refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in Africa: towards durable solutions to forced displacement” within the framework of its recently adopted “Migration Policy Framework for Africa and Plan of Action 2018-2030”.

In their Conclusions and Recommendations, the participating regional organizations and institutions joined a call to action to accelerate progress towards the violence-related targets of Agenda 2030, especially SDG target 16.2 to end all forms of violence against children. Participants committed to use and widely disseminate the global thematic report on the prevention and elimination of violence against children being prepared by the Office of the SRSG as a strategic advocacy tool to mobilize action at the national and regional level. The opportunity provided by Voluntary National Reviews to the HLPF by Member States was also noted as an important way of ensuring that good practices and experiences in the prevention and response to violence against children, including for children on the move, are made widely known and scaled up.

“Our annual roundtable brings us together with a shared objective: to help make all forms of violence against children history! With the 2019 review of the 2030 Agenda, with the HLPF attention given to SDG 16.2, and with the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we have a truly momentous opportunity to make a quantum leap in our efforts to build a world where all children grow up free from fear and from violence” Santos Pais said at the close of the meeting.

Participating organizations in the 9th Cross-Regional Round Table included: The African Union Commission through its Department of Social Affairs, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Union Special Rapporteur on Child Marriage, ECOWAS, the East African Community, the African Child Policy Forum, the Inter-American Children’s Institute-Organization of American States, the Central American Social Integration Secretariat, the Council of Europe, the Council of Baltic Sea States, as well as the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF, Save the Children, PLAN International, ECPAT, and the WePROTECT Global Alliance.