EU Children of Peace initiative: President Barroso announces Nobel Peace Prize projects to help 23,000 children affected by war and conflicts (08/01/2013)

The European Union's Nobel Peace prize money will fund four projects under the EU Children of Peace initiative and details of the projects were announced today by Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.

The attribution of the award money to children affected by conflict was an unanimous decision of the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Parliament Martin Schulz and of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.

President Barroso said: "It was obvious for us that the Nobel Peace Prize money should be allocated to the most vulnerable who are often the hardest hit by wars: the children of this world. We want all children to enjoy the constant protection of their rights. Each and every girl and boy in the world should have the opportunity to develop their talents. Promoting education is also giving peace a chance to be a lasting peace. We want "children of war" to become "children of peace".

President Van Rompuy said: "In situations of conflict children are often the most vulnerable, so it is only right that this award should benefit young victims of armed conflicts. I am glad that this initiative will continue beyond this first year, and hope that 'EU Children of Peace projects' can become a symbol of the European Union's commitment to those in need around the world".

President Schulz said: "Children are the most vulnerable victims of conflict. They are our future and it is their personal future which is at stake. Anything we can contribute to help to make them overcome the traumas and suffering endured during conflict is welcome".

Together the projects will benefit from €2 million (which includes additional EU funding). They will reach out to over 23,000 conflict-affected children worldwide and will provide access to basic education and child-friendly spaces:

  • Around 4,000 Syrian refugee children in camps at the border between Iraq and Syria;
  • More than 5,000 Colombian children, most of them refugees in Ecuador;
  • 11,000 Congolese children displaced in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and refugees in Ethiopia;
  • And 3,000 Pakistani children in the conflicted-affected north of the country.

UNICEF will implement the project in Pakistan, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council will work with children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, UNHCR will deliver assistance in Colombia and Ecuador, and ACTED from France is going to work in the Domiz Refugee camp in Northern Iraq with Syrian children. All these organisations are among the best renowned humanitarian partners of the European Commission.

The projects to be supported through the Children for Peace Initiative fall in the scope of responsibility of the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva. Today she said: "In conflict, humanitarian aid is often the only way for children to be able to continue their education, which not only improves their future prospects, but can also protect them for abuse and exploitation. This important cause is worthy of the EU's Nobel Peace Prize contribution. On the Syrian and Colombian borders, in Pakistan, Ethiopia and Congo, we will make a big difference for kids that might otherwise become a lost generation – giving them instead a chance for a childhood, a chance for recovery, a chance for a better future".

The EU Children of Peace Initiative will not be a one-off action: new funding will be made available next year for more projects in support of children in conflict.

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