The report details how a near global consensus that children should not be used as soldiers and strenuous international efforts - with the UN at the forefront - to halt the phenomenon have failed to protect tens of thousands of children from war. When armed conflict exists, children will almost inevitably become involved as soldiers.
The report documents military recruitment legislation, policy and practice in more than 190 countries worldwide - in conflict and in peacetime armies - as well as child soldier use by non-state armed groups.
There have been positive developments over the past four years. The Coalition's research shows that the number of armed conflicts in which children are involved is down from 27 in 2004 to 17 by the end of 2007. Tens of thousands of children have been released in that time from armies and armed groups as long-running conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere have ended.
But the report shows that tens of thousands of children remain in the ranks of non-state armed groups in at least 24 different countries or territories. The record of governments is also little improved - children were deployed in armed conflicts by government forces in nine situations of armed conflict, down only one from the 10 such situations recorded when the last Global Report was published in 2004.
Myanmar remained the most persistent government offender. Its armed forces, engaged in long-running counter-insurgency operations against a range of ethnic armed groups, still contained thousands of children, some as young as 11 years old. Children were also used by government forces in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen. Palestinian children were used on several occasions as human shields by the Israeli defence forces, and a few British under-18s were deployed to Iraq up to mid-2005.
The failure of governments to adhere to their international obligations does not end there. In at least 14 countries children have been recruited into auxiliary forces linked to national armies, local civilian defence groups created to support counter-insurgency operations, or by illegal militias and armed groups used as proxies by national armies.
Progress towards a global standard prohibiting the military recruitment or use in hostilities of children is hampered by continued recruitment of under-18s into peacetime armies. At least 63 governments - including Germany - allow voluntary recruitment of under-18s, despite the age of adulthood being set at 18 in many countries.