Open Letter from International Civil Society Organizations and Child-Focused Agencies: COVID-19 and the Impact of Pandemic Response Plans Threaten Immediate and Long-Term Risks to Public Health and Child Protection

Inter-Agency Coalition

The statement from U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and a letter from the Group of Friends of Children and the SDGs, endorsed by more than 160 member states, highlight the importance of holistic COVID-19 response plans that ensure well-being and healthy development of children.

The pandemic also creates serious long-term risks to children’s well-being and healthy development. High numbers of COVID-19 deaths may leave thousands of children without parents or caregivers and put alternative care systems under great strain. Economic recessions may contribute to notable increases in child abuse and exploitation, including gender-based violence, child marriage and child labor. Xenophobic discrimination against children living on the streets, child refugees and immigrants will increase risks of violence and stigmatization.

This open letter, endorsed by several international civil society organizations and child-focused agencies, calls on national governments and multilateral institutions to work immediately to strengthen ‘child protection in COVID-19’ response frameworks and to provide sufficient donor support to implement these responses effectively.