Virginia Gamba has been appointed as the current Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on 12 April 2017 by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, to replace Leila Zerrougui of Algeria. Gamba was previously Head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations joint investigative Mechanism. From 2012 to 2015, she held the position of Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs in the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. From 2009 to 2012, she served as Deputy Director of Safety and Security at the Institute for Public Safety in Argentina’s Ministry of Justice. From 2007 to 2009, Gamba worked with the European Union as an Expert Consultant and helped develop the African Common Approach to Combat Illicit Small Arms Trafficking. From 2001 to 2007, she was Director of South-South Interactions at SaferAfrica.
Role: The Mission Statement of the Office of the Special Representative is: "To promote and protect the rights of all children affected by armed conflict."
How? General Assembly resolution A/RES/51/77 on the rights of the child recommends that “the Secretary-General appoint for a period of three years a Special Representative on the impact of armed conflict on children.” The Assembly has always extended this since its creation. The resolution does not explain the procedure for such an appointment, nor the necessary criteria.
When: The term of the current SRSG will expire in July 2021.
Action: There is an opportunity for ensuring that the appointment process is transparent, and that the criteria are publicly available and child rights-focused. More information will be circulated nearer the time.