Brussels, 22 July 2014
Austria joins EU Children of Peace initiative
Austria is joining the EU Children of Peace initiative, becoming the second Member State to contribute to the EU's efforts to fund humanitarian projects which help children in conflict zones to gain access to education. Luxembourg joined last year. The initiative is the lasting legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to the EU in 2012.
"I warmly welcome Austria's participation in this important project," said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Education is the key to ensuring that boys and girls who are trapped in conflict zones can aspire to a brighter future. I am proud of our Member States for contributing to this severely under-funded area in humanitarian aid and I look forward to more joining as the initiative develops."
Austria's €250 000 contribution will support EU Children of Peace projects that provide children with access to education, psycho-social support, and safe and child-friendly spaces where they can learn, play, grow in an environment where they remain protected from the traumatic consequences of conflict, including the threat of recruitment as child soldiers and being forced into early marriages.
On 10 December 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its six decades-long work in the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights. The European Commission accepted the prize money on behalf of the European Union, doubled the amount to a sum of €2 million and decided to dedicate the award to humanitarian projects assisting children affected by conflict by providing them access to education. In 2013, the funding was again doubled to €4 million.
So far more than a hundred thousand boys and girls from twelve countries have benefited from the EU Children of Peace projects. In its first year in 2012 the initiative made a difference to more than 28 000 children from Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Colombia, Ecuador and Syrian refugees in Iraq. In 2013, the scope was increased to reach more than 80 000 children in a number of countries including South Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Colombia and Ecuador.
90% of victims of conflicts are civilians. Half of them are children. 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.
A billion children live in conflict-affected areas and more than 28 million children affected by conflict do not attend primary school. The initiative is supporting education in emergencies by funding humanitarian projects for children in conflict areas, a severely under-funded sector.
More than half of the EU's humanitarian aid budget goes to conflict-affected areas and more than 10% - which is above the global average - goes to relief organisations which focus on helping children.
For more information
The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
ECHO Factsheet on EU Children of Peace
Commissioner Georgieva's website: