International Commitments

What is it?

  • International commitments to capacity development (both cross-border technology-based improvements and systemic improvements within countries) and to the prevention of inadequate or ineffective state response systems.
  • In addition, this includes agreed processes for bilateral agreements and investigations.

Why is it important?

  • International commitments set shared objectives to achieve over time in relation to eliminating online sexual abuse and exploitation. They are an initial step towards putting political will into practice and recognising the urgent need for a global, multi-sector, coordinated response to CSEA online.
  • International commitments are generally made public and create national and global accountabilities for individual States and, in some cases, businesses. This enables national and international stakeholders to follow up on the commitments made. Follow up on implementing the commitment and measuring progress against pre-set indicators or milestones is critical (e.g. reflection of online rights abuses and opportunities in country child rights report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child).
  • International commitments can allow for country, and business, comparisons, depending on the amount and quality of information shared. This can promote an aligned uptake of obligations and sharing of lessons and information on legislation, systems and good practice, particularly amongst countries within the same region or businesses in the same industry. It can also help avoid policy and regulatory fragmentation, which has the potential to undermine harmful online content.

How can it be implemented?

  • By ratifying the UNCRC and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, States commit to upholding and protecting the rights and principles enshrined within both documents – this includes online as well as offline. The UN General Comment on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment (published in 2021) will provide practical orientation for the implementation of child rights online. General Comments are highly authoritative and have a legal basis, they are automatically assumed and not ratified.
  • By working under the UN Sustainable Development Goals 16.2 and 8.7 (among others), States and partners can ensure a consistent global response that ensures CSEA online is incorporated into the wider violence against children agenda.
  • WePROTECT Global Alliance’s membership primarily includes governments, business and civil society. Each member commits publicly to working collaboratively with WePROTECT Global Alliance and other members to eliminate CSEA online with the aim of ending it.
  • WePROTECT Global Alliance supports coordinated efforts with other bodies focused on violence against children such as the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children or online harms such as the International Telecommunications Union, the Internet Engineering Taskforce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers so as to maximise collective impact and avoid siloes.

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