The UN Liaison Office for Children and Armed Conflict represents the Office of the Special of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in Europe and liaises on all matters related to children and armed conflict that fall under the remit of the Special Representative.


United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution A/RES/51/77, that created the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG CAAC) tasked him/her to “foster international cooperation to ensure respect for children’s rights and contribute to the coordination of efforts by Governments, relevant United Nations bodies, (…) the Committee on the Rights of the Child, relevant special rapporteurs and working groups, (…) regional and subregional organizations, other competent bodies and non-governmental organizations.”

The UN Security Council has also specifically welcomed at multiple occasions the valuable contribution of relevant regional and subregional organizations for the protection of children affected by armed conflict and encouraged the reinforcement of their capacities in the area of children and armed conflict[1].

To foster strategic partnerships with the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other key stakeholders in Europe, the Special Representative created a Liaison Office in Brussels in 2018.

Working with the EU and its Member States

Besides advocating for the inclusion of CAAC language in all relevant EU discussions, policies, guidelines, instruments and missions, the Brussels Office cooperates with the EU in the implementation of the existing CAAC policy framework, such as the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict, the Revised EU Implementation Strategy on Guidelines for Children and Armed Conflict, and the Checklist for the integration of the protection of children affected by armed conflict into EU CSDP operations. To that end, the Liaison Office in Brussels systematically engages with stakeholders in the EU Institutions, including the Parliament, the Commission, the European External Action Service, as well as with EU Member States in the Council of the European Union.

Over the last two years, the Liaison Office in Brussels has accomplished significant achievements such as the signing in 2019 of a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Parliament and the Special Representative which has formalized mutual support and cooperation in implementing and mainstreaming the CAAC mandate in EU politics and policies.


Working with Geneva-based organizations and mechanisms

Once a year, the Special Representative presents her annual report on Children and Armed Conflict to the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, whose drafting process is supported by the Brussels Office. The Office also aims to systematically mainstream CAAC issues within the HRC, notably through submitting information on countries on the CAAC agenda to the Universal Periodic Review process. Partnerships with other Geneva-based UN agencies, such as the WHO, the ILO or the UNHCR, are also being strengthened with the support of the Liaison Office. Further, it works closely with Special Procedures and Commissions of Inquiry to ensure that the issue of CAAC is considered in their work.

The Office also remains crucial in collaborating with the CAAC Group of Friends in Geneva, which the Special Representative regularly briefs on the latest trends and patterns related to the six grave violations perpetrated against children in armed conflict.

Working with Civil Society Organizations in Europe

Besides partnerships with governments and regional organizations, the Liaison Office in Brussels entertains close relations with civil society organizations (CSOs) in Europe. With the support of the Brussels Office, the Special Representative regularly shares current developments of her mandate to CSOs, in particular to the NGO Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in Geneva. The Brussels Office also cooperates with the civil society in Brussels and in other European Member States to exchange information, align advocacy strategies and support civil society initiatives on CAAC, including the set-up of a university network on children and armed conflict.

[1] In UN Security Council resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 2143 (2014), 2225 (2015), 2427 (2018).