Children will always be in danger wherever conflict occurs, but it is possible to reduce the risk of them becoming involved in armed forces and groups.  Establishing and enforcing 18 as the minimum age for recruitment is an essential first step. The majority of states have already done this, and many non-state armed groups have done so too. Political efforts continue to encourage those parties which have not done so already to do likewise.

Societal development is important, too. For many children and their families, whether they live in rich or poor countries, joining up is often seen as the only viable option for education, employment and protection. The number of children used for military purposes can reduce in the long term if children’s full range of economic and social rights are respected and viable alternatives to military recruitment are made available – access to education is particularly important in this respect.