“A devastating and distorted new normal” for the world’s children outlined by UNICEF
Commenting on the one year anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, UNICEF have pointed to the latest available data, which the organisation says paints a picture of “a devastating and distorted new normal for the world’s children.”
Progress has gone backward “across virtually every key measure of childhood”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, noting that the number of children who are hungry, isolated, abused, anxious, living in poverty and forced into marriage has increased.
At the same time, access to education, socialization and essential services including health, nutrition and protection has decreased.
“The signs that children will bear the scars of the pandemic for years to come are unmistakable,” she added.
In developing countries, child poverty is expected to increase by around 15 per cent. An additional 140 million children in these countries are also already projected to be in households living below the poverty line.
At least one in seven children and young people have lived under stay-at-home policies for most of the last year, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
“Children must be at the heart of recovery efforts,” Ms Fore said. “This means prioritizing schools in reopening plans. It means providing social protection including cash transfers for families. And it means reaching the most vulnerable children with critical services. Only then can we protect this generation from becoming a lost generation.”