25 years ago, in December 1996, the United Nations General Assembly took the unprecedented decision to create a mandate to protect children from hostilities and adopted resolution 51/77 which created the CAAC mandate.

The objectives of the mandate were ambitious

Strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflict, raise awareness, promote the collection of information about the plight of children affected by war and foster international cooperation to improve their protection.

Looking back at 25 years of work for children allows us to assess the path traveled, but also gives us some perspective on the way forward.

Over the past 25 years:

grave violations against children have been identified by the Security Council:

More thanchildren have been released from armed groups and armed forces following UN advocacy,alone during 2020.

Group of smiling boys in Pakistan

resolutions on children and armed conflict have been adopted by the UN Security Council.

commitments have been taken by parties to conflict to end and prevent grave violations against children, includingAction Plans, of whichare currently under implementation.

parties to conflict have fully complied with their commitment and were subsequently delisted.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, adopted in 2000, has been ratified byState Parties.

The Paris Principles and Commitments have been endorsed byStates

The Vancouver Principles have been endorsed by States

The Safe Schools Declaration has been endorsed byStates

For the time in ILO’s history, an International Labour Convention has been ratified by all member States. On 4 August 2020, Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour achieved universal ratification, following ratification by the Kingdom of Tonga.

Provisions on children affected by conflict have been included into peace agreements in Colombia, South Sudan and Philippines, among others.