This year’s anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, takes place during one of the most challenging moments for the fulfillment of children’s rights in the Philippines. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a threatening typhoon season, have upended thousands of children’s lives and has left many more children uncertain about their future.
Children face a trifecta of threats: direct consequences of the disease itself, interruption in essential services, and increasing poverty and inequality.
A UNICEF report, Averting a Lost COVID Generation, reveals data from different countries of the dire and growing consequences for children as the pandemic drags on. Children’s and adolescents’ mental health has suffered during the pandemic. Globally, the number of children living in multidimensional poverty –without access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation, or water is estimated to have soared to a 15 percent increase, an additional 150 million children by mid-2020. To address these, UNICEF recommends a Six Point Action Plan that calls on governments and partners to prioritize children’s needs:
1. Ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide.
2. Guarantee access to health and nutrition services and make vaccines affordable and available to every child.
3. Support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence and neglect in childhood.
4. Increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change
5. Reverse the rise in child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all; and
6. Redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster and displacement.