In a joint message, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore called for urgent investment to protect children’s futures.
As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, “the rights of every child everywhere, need to come first in any recovery plan”, they stated.
The senior officials were joined by several young people from around the world, drawing attention to the challenges facing today’s youth.
“We see our generation facing challenges as never before in our lifetimes, millions of children are missing out on basic health care, are being cut off from education, and are facing poverty and violence everyday”, the youngsters said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic took away ‘normal’, but for us ‘normal’ was never good enough anyway.”
COVID-19 not the ‘only danger’
The youth advocates warned that COVID-19 “is not the only danger.”
“Our planet is suffering and climate change is real, inequality and discrimination are real, the stress on our mental health is very real.
On World Children’s Day, they continued, “we have a unique opportunity to listen to the visions and solutions of children and young people, for generations to discuss and act together.”
That, Ms. Fore and Mr. Sassoli stressed, is why UNCIEF and the European Parliament have come together “to make sure no child is left behind.”
“To make this day to REIMAGINE a better future where all children have a place and opportunities, where all children survive and thrive, where more investments are made today to secure their tomorrow”, the joint message added.
Practical and concrete actions
This year, with COVID-19 upending every aspect lives everywhere, UNICEF launched a plan with practical and concrete actions to protect children.
“Decision makers must start by listening to children and young people and including them in decision-making,” urged UNICEF, stressing that doing so is vital as it is the children who will live with the impact of this pandemic for decades to come.
UNICEF called for global action to ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide; guarantee access to health and nutrition services; make vaccines affordable and available to every child; support and protect the mental health of children and young people; and bring an end to abuse, violence, and neglect, among other objectives.
Meanwhile, messages on the Day have been trending globally on social media platforms, offering support, urging action, and also asking for ideas and inspiration to improve future prospects.
Sachin Tendulkar, retired Indian cricket superstar and UNICEF South Asia Goodwill Ambassador, declared that “children are the world’s most valuable resource and our best hope for the future.”
Similarly, Siwon Choi, a singer-songwriter from the Republic of Korea and Regional Ambassador for UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific, invited his Twitter following to “share your ideas for a better future for all.”
Click here to see some of the messages.
Similar to previous years, major world landmarks are “going blue” to stand for the rights of every child. This year, the representative action is not only a celebration but a resolve towards reimagining a better world for children.