NEW YORK/ GENEVA, August 16 2017:
The theme of the 2017 global Child Protection in Humanitarian Action meeting – chosen after extensive consultation — is “working across sectors to protect children”. But what does this really mean and why is it so important? Why are Alliance members coming together to discuss this important theme in Uganda on 11 and 12 September 2017?
Child protection in emergencies is defined as the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children in times of emergency caused by natural or manmade disasters, conflicts, or other crises. It involves specific activities by child protection actors at the community, national and international levels. But it also involves activities by all those engaged in a humanitarian response – even those who are not typically considered to be ‘child protection actors’.
Mainstreaming child protection is an essential part of compliance with the ‘do no harm’ principle that applies to all humanitarian action. It also is a practical example of putting the “centrality of protection” into practice. To mainstream child protection means to ensure child protection considerations inform all aspects of humanitarian work. Whether we are delivering food or building shelter and WASH facilities for the affected population, our actions may increase or decrease protection risks to children and their families. A child, for example, may be exposed to harm during the chaos of a distribution or at water points. It is imperative that all relevant actors adopt a protection lens when planning and implementing all humanitarian activities.
Integrated programming across child protection and other sectors allows for joint actions between two or more sectors to work together towards a common programme objective, based on a joint needs assessment. Working across sectors can be mutually reinforcing: Education actors, for example, can play a crucial role in protection of children, while protection actors can play a key role in ensuring vulnerable and marginalized children get safe access to education.
The 2017 annual meeting will feature presentations by participants on the practicalities, opportunities and challenges around both mainstreaming and integrated programming. We will hear from child protection practitioners, researchers, donors and policy makers, as well as humanitarian and development colleagues from other sectors. This year we have seen a significant increase in applications to participate in this annual event, which affirms the importance and relevance of this theme for all humanitarian actors. We hope you are able to join us!