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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 November 2013

EU Children of Peace: a lasting legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize supporting thousands of children worldwide

The European Commission will support 80 000 children affected by conflict through new humanitarian projects announced today which are supported by the 'EU Children of Peace' initiative. The European Commission established 'EU Children of Peace' last year after it was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Peace, investing the Prize money in helping children who are living in conflict and post-conflict environments. It will continue to make a difference for even more children in the year ahead.

"A year ago, the EU received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution to peace on the European continent and the wider world. We were awarded this prize in recognition of the tireless work that several generations have put into writing the European success story, and in passing peace and prosperity to their children. Today, in a world that is increasingly globalized, our children are asking us to share this success with the rest of the planet. That is why we created the EU Children of Peace initiative – as a lasting legacy of this honour. The EU Children of Peace initiative supports a key area of humanitarian and development aid: education for children affected by conflict – so that 'children of war' become 'children of peace,'" said José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.

"Education is much more than just writing or counting – it is the only way to build lasting peace and sustainable development. By providing children with spaces where they can safely develop their talents, by providing them with psychological support to overcome the past traumas and raising their awareness about their rights, we are making one more step towards a conflict-free future – for all of us," said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, who is leading the initiative.

Over the past year, the EU Children of Peace initiative reached more than 28 000 children in Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Columbia, Ecuador and Syrian refugee children in Iraq. Thanks to the generosity of Europeans and the hard work of humanitarian organisations, we provided schools, child-friendly spaces, psychological support, school materials and uniforms. This kept more boys and girls in education, saved them from recruitment as child soldiers and taught them about their rights.

EU Children of Peace continues in 2014: the European Commission will increase the available funds from €2 million in 2013 to €4 million for next year. More than 80 000 children affected by war will benefit from this second round of the EU children of Peace initiative. Humanitarian projects will be carried out by nine humanitarian organizations who will help girls and boys in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Colombia and Ecuador.

Background

On 10 December, the EU was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its six decades-long work in the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights. The European Commission formally accepted the prize money on behalf of the European Union, increased it to €2 million and allocated it to children in the greatest need of post-conflict support.

Today, 90% of the victims of conflicts are civilians. Half of them are children. Seven million children are refugees and 12.4 million children are displaced within their own countries due to conflict.

One of the best ways to help and protect children when they suffer from violent conflicts is to restore to them the opportunity to learn and receive an education. Of the approximately 75 million children who are out of school worldwide, more than half live in conflict areas.

The EU's humanitarian work is addressing the specific needs of children affected by conflict. More than half of the Commission's humanitarian funding goes to conflict-affected areas and 12% of its humanitarian budget - much more than the global average - goes to child-focused relief organisations.

For more information

MEMO/13/876: The EU Children of Peace projects: how the European Union keeps bringing peace closer to those who need it the most.

Commission website on the EU's assistance for children in conflict:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/EU4children/index_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htmhttp://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htmhttp://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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