Stepping up child protection in emergencies: Launch of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

15 November 2016, GENEVA, Switzerland

Governments, donors, humanitarian and development practitioners met on 15 November 2016 in Geneva to unveil an exciting new agenda for child protection in humanitarian action. 

“Despite our best efforts and achievements, the current humanitarian system is not doing nearly enough to protect children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation,” said Cornelius Williams, Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF. “Together, we need to step up child protection in humanitarian action.”

“Never before in the history of the UN Refugee Agency have we seen so many children forced to flee their homes in search of safety,” added Louise Aubin, Deputy Director, Division of International Protection at UNHCR. “They face multiple dangers en route – including drowning, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder. Fear defines these children’s lives.”

“Child protection in humanitarian action is often misunderstood, chronically underfunded and routinely deprioritized,” said Lotta Sterky, Deputy Secretary General at Save the Children Sweden. “At the global level, we are reorganizing our ways of working to ensure a more focused approach, increasing coverage and the quality of our interventions.”

Maike Röttger, Plan International Germany’s CEO and Tjipke Bergsma, War Child’s CEO, showcased practical examples of how interagency tools and research enhance child protection efforts at country level. Christine Knudsen, Sphere Project Director, spoke about the importance of global humanitarian standards – including the Child Protection Minimum Standards – for ensuring quality and accountability.

Abraham Kur Achiek, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF Yemen, drew on both his current professional role and personal experience as a former child soldier to advocate persuasively for child protection.

Alaa Zaza, Social Worker and Project Manager at the Hurras Network, gave a compelling account of the daily realities faced by frontline workers in Syria. Zaza urged donors and international actors to do more to accompany national child protection actors, by improving communication mechanisms and streamlining reporting procedures.

Nigel Fisher, Former UN Assistant Secretary General, closed the event with a call to action. Fisher invited donors, agencies, networks and individuals concerned about children’s wellbeing to come together and step up child protection in humanitarian action by joining the Alliance.


Speakers’ biographies

Keynote speech (transcript)

Annual Meeting Report