The meeting was attended by representatives of approximately 40 UN member countries, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Forest Whitaker, the Oscar-winning American actor, who heads an NGO dealing with children's reintegration in Uganda and South Sudan.
“Kazakhstan supports all international initiatives aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of children, our most valuable asset, especially those affected by conflicts," stated Kairat Umarov, Kazakhstan's Permanent Representative to the UN. He also added that the new approach to the reintegration of children would not only contribute to their successful return to normal life, but also provide an opportunity for children to serve their societies as “envoys of positive change."
The UN Group of Friends for the Reintegration of Children, chaired by Kazakhstan together with Malta and France, is part of the Global Coalition for Reintegration established by the UN in September 2018. The Coalition's ultimate goal is to develop new, more effective approaches for children affected by armed conflict to return to normal life, including former child soldiers recruited by terrorist organisations.
To address this challenge, the Coalition has engaged eminent scientists and experts from around the world to conduct research on this issue. At the same time, knowledge and expertise are being shared between UN member states and agencies.
The Coalition's findings will be presented to the world community at a high-level event during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.
Kazakhstan attaches great importance to promoting measures aimed at supporting children affected by conflict, including their reintegration and rehabilitation, as well as ensuring access to education and health care. During Kazakhstan's term in the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, it actively participated in the work of the Council and its subsidiary bodies in this area. Moreover, Kazakhstan allocates funds for the implementation of joint projects with UNICEF for the reintegration and rehabilitation of children in Afghanistan.
The next meeting of the Group of Friends, chaired by Kazakhstan, will be held in April 2019 and will be devoted to improving the effectiveness of funding mechanisms for projects on children's reintegration.