Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal stresses on cooperation and solidarity to confront the repercussions of Covid-19 pandemic on children
World Children's Day comes this year while the world is groaning from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic that undermined many gains and left behind a major economic, social and health crisis, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), has said.
The knock-on effects will continue over generations unless we all take action to confront it at all levels, he cautioned on Monday at the opening session of the "COVID-19 Pandemic and Child Rights" webinar under the theme "From Crisis to Opportunity".
The webinar, organized by ACCD, was attended by more than 150 representatives of regional and international organizations, associations working in the field of childhood, experts and the media.
"When talking about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we refer to the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, as most international and regional reports have indicated a disturbing and blurry image over the health, educational and social repercussions on children," he said.
"There is disruption in health services and vaccinations, with the risk of high infant mortality rates, and the possibility of halting the educational process with the return of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the return to distance education. This would pose many challenges to several countries due to lack of technological infrastructure, in addition to the growing risk of a food and economic crisis that raises the rates of extreme poverty. This is in addition to the exacerbation of social problems, including the increase of worst forms of child labor, the high incidence of girls' exposure to early marriage, and the exacerbated levels of violence, anxiety, panic and fear. This situation necessitates that we have to work together especially after recovering from the pandemic."
Prince Abdulaziz said the main purpose of the conference is that "the more we review the implications and effects of COVID-19 crisis on children, the more we seek to open dialogue and debate in order to provide a space for turning this crisis into an opportunity for change and development... An opportunity for creativity and innovation. The United Nations has affirmed, it is a time for knowledge and solidarity ... but this will only come through the promotion of rights, the protection of law, and the achievement of SDGs, with the provision of appropriate context to create more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies, and to enable accelerated technological development."
He called upon the 15th G20 Summit that will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, under the overall theme of “Realizing Opportunities of 21st Century for All”, to pay attention to the issue of childhood.
Childhood should be made a top priority in the coming stage as it affects the future, to be truly an opportunity to open new perspectives that come up with initiatives and outputs to fulfil the aspirations of all.
Prince Abdulaziz expressed congratulations to Saudi Arabia, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for the early move and the success of the necessary arrangements for holding that summit since the Kingdom assumed its presidency last December.
He concluded by calling on leaders, planners, practitioners and stakeholders and those concerned with the issues of childhood and development, to cooperate and
act to address collectively the crisis, and to propose impactful solutions to create a world that is more just, inclusive and sustainable, observes the environment and fosters creativity so that children can enjoy health, protection and development.
More than 15 experts in the field child rights delivered speeches at the conference that addressed a wide spectrum of topics on the social, psychological and educational impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on children's rights in the Arab region and the role of civil society to confront such impacts as well as discussed the technological potentials in coping with these impacts.