Tal av utrikesminister Margot Wallström vid "Children and Armed Conflict: Voices From The Field"

New York, 19 september 2017. Det talade ordet gäller.

Thank you SRSG Gamba for your leadership and vision. Together with UNICEF and DPKO you form the triumvirate of child protection at the United Nations.

250 million children around the world suffer from the direct consequences of armed conflict. How to end current conflicts and prevent new ones from emerging is a key priority for Sweden in the Security Council. How we deal with children affected by armed conflict today, has profound consequences for their futures, and the futures of their countries. Protecting children today can prevent conflict tomorrow. It is for this reason that the role of Child Protection Advisors is invaluable. I am therefore very pleased that we could gather here today to highlight your role and listen to your experiences. Your work is vital and you have our full support.

In a world filled with armed conflicts, and millions of migrants and refugees as a result, work to protect children in conflict becomes imperative. Contributing to the protection of the millions of children affected by armed conflict is a responsibility we all share. Sweden has a long tradition of working to strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflict. We are now using the platform we have as members of the Security Council, including as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, to increase the protection of children affected by armed conflict.

Children are among those who suffer the most from armed conflicts. We risk losing a generation of children, deprived of the possibility of an education and a future – children who are traumatised, injured or orphaned.
We cannot afford this loss of human potential. We must act now.
Sweden is the first country to designate an ambassador for children and armed conflict, who will coordinate the Government's work in Stockholm as well as act as a focal point for CSOs.

Going forward Sweden will prioritise the following areas:
- continuing to use the Security Council and our role as chair of the Working Group as a platform to integrate child protection as a priority in peacekeeping, prevention and the sustaining peace-agenda and stand up for the integrity of the Children and Armed Conflict agenda;
- enabling children to make their voice heard;
- ensuring children's right to education; and
- ensuring children's right to health, including mental health, in conflicts.
As part of the work to increase the protection of and attention to children affected by armed conflict, Sweden will conduct a variety of different activities and initiatives in 2017 and 2018, including a number of seminars in the field.

Children need our protection, and they need it across the conflict cycle. Integrating child protection, children's rights and children's voices into prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace processes will determine the future of the next generation. Children should never be part of the problem; they should be part of the solution.

Thank you.