On 18 March 2006 H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa, Ambassador of Japanese Mission to the UN, and Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa, signed documents in New York city finalizing Japanese Assistance for the Programme for Rehabilitation of Ex-Child Soldiers in the Great Lakes Region: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The Pease process has progressed significantly in the Great Lakes region, where a series of conflicts broke out in the 1990s. It is estimated that there are approximately 120,000 former child-soldiers in Africa, and many have yet to be integrated back into their communities. Lacking a support system, they are in danger of being mobilized again.
It was to address this problem that the African Union, in collaboration with UNDP, formulated the project and requested the support of the Government of Japan.
The Government of Japan has accelerated its support for the consolidation of peace in Africa since TICAD III in 2003, and new initiatives, including this project, were announced at the TICAD Conference on the Consolidation of Peace in Africa.
The programme will promote the reintegration of ex-child soldiers in the Great Lakes region, addressing the issues of security and community development and promoting the consolidation of peace.