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UN – Italy funds training in protection of children in armed conflict

The Italian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva hosted a presentation of the results of a project for the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) aimed at the creation of a training module for civilian and military personnel on peacekeeping missions dealing with the protection of children involved in armed conflict.

The first phase of the initiative, which was launched last year thanks to funding from Italy, recently ended with a workshop of experts at the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi. As a result of Italy’s awareness raising efforts, Austria, Canada and Germany have decided to fund the remaining phases of the project.

Updating and rationalising existing training programmes

Ambassador Laura Mirachian pointed out that the DPKO project was centred on two priority aspects of Italian foreign policy: support for UN peacekeeping operations and the protection of children in armed conflict. Recalling how peacekeepers are increasingly finding themselves in conflicts involving minors, Mirachian emphasized the strategic nature of the project, which aims at updating and rationalising various existing training programmes and at making a flexible and useable tool rapidly available. The DPKO has outlined a three-pronged approach for the next phases of the project: to set up a uniform and updated training module based on the Brindisi results; to ensure that it is accompanied by clear implementation guidelines (it emerged that only 60% of UN mission make use of training courses for the protection of children); developing forms of collaboration with peacekeeping training centres and Member States to test and apply the training module.