Today the Austrian government announced its financial support to the EU Children of Peace initiative by contributing €250 000. With the additional funds the Initiative will further support EU-funded humanitarian projects, enabling children in conflict zones to gain access to education, psycho-social support, and safe and child-friendly spaces where they can learn, play, grow and regain their right to a childhood. Austria is the second EU Member State to join the Initiative, following Luxembourg in 2013.
"I warmly welcome Austria's participation in this important project that brings a sense of normalcy to the lives of boys and girls who suffer in conflict situations. Education is key to ensure that these children can aspire to a brighter future. I am proud of our Member States contributing to this severely underfunded area in humanitarian aid and hope that more will join as the initiative develops," said European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva.
To this day, some 108 000 boys and girls from 12 countries around the world have benefited from the projects, namely: Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Colombia, Ecuador, Syrian refugees in Iraq, South Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
The EU Children of Peace initiative is the lasting legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the EU in 2012 for its dedication to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights.
The European Commission formally accepted the prize money on behalf of the European Union, doubled the amount to the sum of €2 million and dedicated the award to humanitarian projects assisting children affected by conflict. In 2014, the funding was again doubled to €4 million and is expected to further increase in 2015.