Inter-Agency Statement on strengthening child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa: A call to action to African Union States

Inter-Agency Working Group (list of organizations below)

Thirteen agencies* working in Africa have issued a Joint Statement calling on African governments to strengthen their child protection systems to secure the right of children to a life free from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect in both emergency and non-emergency settings. The agencies, which include UNICEF, as well as networks of NGOs, delivered their recommendations during the 22nd Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, on 6 November 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Joint Statement draws on a growing body of practice and evidence on child protection systems strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa, and is inspired by the dialogue and findings of a multi-agency conference on the topic that took place in Dakar, Senegal in May 2012.  The objective of this Statement is to (i) present a common understanding of child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa and why they are important and worthy of investment; and (ii) issue a call to action to governments, the African Union, regional economic communities, multilateral agencies, donors, the private sector, academia, civil society organisations, communities and organised children’s and youth groups.

Among other things, the joint statement underlines that the strengthening of child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa ideally centres on the child and the family, broadening out to include community and kinship mechanisms and traditional authority and mediation structures. It also highlights the importance of patterns of socialisation, approaches to child- rearing, and the relationships between children and adults also influence their interaction. 

The joint statement is available in French, by clicking here

List of Agencies:

African Child Policy Forum; African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect; Environnement et Développement du Tiers-monde; International Social Service; Mouvement Africain des Enfants et Jeunes Travailleurs; Plan International; Regional Inter-agency Task Team on Children and AIDS; Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative; Save the Children;  SOS Children’s Villages International; Terre des hommes; UNICEF; and World Vision International