The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in partnership with The Big Heart and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, hosted the first regional conference dedicated to the protection of refugee children and adolescents – "Investing in The Future: Protecting Refugee Children in the Middle East and North Africa”. The conference took place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, on the 15th and 16th of October 2014. The conference brought together government representatives, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, refugees, academics and other experts from the region and beyond to examine the protection of refugee children and young people, exploring and highlighting concrete ways to strengthen protection systems. It also highlighted the need to strengthen existing and develop new partnerships with this aim in mind. Participants shared good practices, lessons learned and innovative approaches to addressing the protection risks and vulnerabilities of refugee children and young people.

Aims of the Conference

The aims of this conference are threefold:

  1. To underscore the importance of the protection of refugee children and adolescents in the Middle East and North Africa Region;
  2. To highlight the specific protection risks and vulnerabilities that refugee children and adolescents are facing, and how these may best be addressed; and
  3. To stress the importance of existing partnerships between governments, civil society and international agencies, and to examine how new partnerships can help to address the needs of refugee children.
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