Climate activist Greta Thunberg along with Danish NGO Human Act, on Thursday launched a child rights-driven campaign to support the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in protecting young lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food shortages, strained healthcare systems, violence and lost education are just some of the damaging effects of the coronavirus.
“Children and young people are among the most severely impacted by the knock-on effects of COVID-19, so it is only natural that they would want to do something about it”, the UNICEF chief continued. “Through her activism, Greta Thunberg has proven that young people are ready to take a stand and lead change in the world.”
It’s a child rights crisis - Thunberg
“Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis”, said Ms. Thunberg. “It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most”.
Inaugurated with an initial donation of $200,000 on behalf of Human Act and the Greta Thunberg Foundation, campaign proceeds will go directly towards UNICEF’s emergency programmes to fight COVID-19, including to provide soap, masks, protective equipment and other support to healthcare systems.
“I’m asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children's lives, to protect health and continue education”, asserted the young climate activist who rose to global prominence through her “school strike” campaign against global warming.
Ms. Thunberg recently received an award from Human Act, who granted her foundation the prize money of $100,000. This sum will now go to UNICEF along with a matching $100,000 from Human Act.
"UNICEF is very pleased that Greta and her supporters have not only chosen to take a stand against this pandemic, but to do so in partnership with UNICEF”, said Ms. Fore.
Children face additional risks
A UN report issued earlier this month warned that children risk being among the biggest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children of all ages in every country across the world are being affected by the coronavirus’ socio-economic impacts and in some cases, by the mitigation measures to stem its spread.
UNICEF is working with partners to help reduce the transmission and ease its impact on children while ensuring that their essential services continue.
UNICEF’s global COVID-19 response
• Ensure access and availability of key supplies and services for children, women and vulnerable populations.
• Scale up messages on handwashing with soap.
• Back governments in procuring personal protective equipment for health care workers.
• Support distance learning for children who cannot access school.
• Provide mental health and psychosocial support to affected children and families.
• Help maintain essential immunization and other services for children.
Ms. Thunberg electrified the UN General Assembly last September with her call for governments to do more to address the climate crisis.