2020 PROGRAMME: IN DEPTH

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

Opening PlenaryA Fair Share for Children

8am EDT / 12 midday UTC / 1pm BST / 2pm CET / 5.30pm IST

Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
HE Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate
HE Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997), Chair of The Elders
HE Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Prime Minister of the UK (2007-2010)
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director- UNICEF
Alanna Mangueira, Youth activist and Member, 100 Milhoes Brasil Steering Committee Member
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
Kinsu Kumar, Child Rights Activist and Rescued Child Labourer
GIRL WATER smlThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world, but far from being an ‘equaliser’, it has demonstrated that marginalised communities are the least able to practise protective measures against the virus and its impacts, and has exacerbated many of the inequalities they have long faced. This is being entrenched by the inequality of the world’s response to date, which has seen trillions announced for the richest parts of the world and very little for the most marginalised children. Despite these unprecedented amounts allegedly intending to support the global economy, it will not touch the majority of the people who work in it. Just a fraction has been allocated to those whose lives are most at stake from the multidimensional impacts of COVID-19. As a result, COVID-19 could turn the clock back a decade or more on progress made on child labor, education, and health for hundreds of millions of children. However, the realisation of a fair allocation of the global response to COVID-19 would be transformative. One trillion dollars would fund all outstanding UN and charity COVID-19 appeals, cancel two years of all debt repayments from low-income countries, and fund two years of the global gap to meet the SDGs on health, water and sanitation, and education.

 


Food insecurity during COVID-19: ending child hunger and stopping the virus for good

8:30am EDT / 12.30pm UTC / 1.30pm BST / 2.30pm CET / 6pm IST

Lorena Castillo Garcia, UNAIDS Special Ambassador and Global Spokesperson for Zero Discrimination (moderator)
Ayoade Oluwafemi Fadoju, Programme Coordinator, Esomchi Foundation, Nigeria
Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
Dr. Máximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Andrea Valle, Youth activist and National leader, 100 Millones Perú
Prof. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
Graςa Machel, Co-Founder and Deputy Chair of The Elders; former freedom fighter and first Education Minister of Mozambique (1975-1989)

BOY EATING smlEven before COVID-19, more than 690 million people were affected by hunger – up by 10 million people from the previous year, demonstrating a constant upward trend over the last five years, with 60 million more people being affected by hunger since 2014. COVID-19 has increased food insecurity around the world, particularly among already vulnerable populations. However, despite pre-existing threats including climate change, conflict, disasters, and the locust invasion across East Africa, this is not due to a global food shortage. The pandemic has impacted both the food supply chain and people’s ability to purchase food. Malnutrition has disastrous effects particularly on children, with undernutrition responsible for almost half of all deaths of children under the age of five. As millions more children and their families enter poverty or extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, undernutrition is set to rise steeply. Fundamentally, undernourished people have weaker immune systems, and may be at greater risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19. This double threat makes universal vaccination against COVID-19 critical if we are to eradicate it for good. This session will discuss how strained health and social protection systems, and fractured responses by countries are causing a rise in child hunger. It will also explore the necessity for any vaccines which are developed for COVID-19 to be made available for the common good to prevent the perpetuation of the virus across the world’s undernourished communities.

 


The Impact of COVID-19:  Economic Exploitation of Children and the Role of Global Supply Chains

9:30am EDT / 1.30pm UTC / 2.30pm BST / 3.30pm CET / 7pm IST

Tim Ryan, Chairperson, Global March and Asia Regional Program Director for Solidarity Center (moderator)
Lalita, Child rights activist and former child labourer
Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union
HE Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development, and Minister of Textiles
Guy Ryder CBE, Director General, International Labour Organization
Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate

GIRL DOMESTIC LABOUR AFRICA. smlIn the last 20 years, there has been considerable progress around the world ensuring that 9 out of 10 children are not in child labour. Today, the number of child labourers stands at 152 million. However, evidence suggests that progress has slowed. With the vast economic impact of COVID-19 on the world’s poorest families, the UN Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating child labour by 2025 seems impossible to achieve unless stakeholders address this issue with utmost urgency. The ILO projections based on progress for the 2012-2016 period – well before the pandemic – suggested that 121 million children would still be in child labour by this deadline. Further, in some countries, a one percentage point increase in poverty could see at least a 0.7% increase in child labour. According to UNICEF, 86 million more children could be pushed into household poverty by the end of 2020, resulting in a rise in child labour for the first time in two decades. It is self-evident that families will be forced to take drastic action to make up for lost income and to cut household costs in the wake of the pandemic. When these and other factors result in losses in household income, forcing companies to cut costs and skirt labour laws, it is likely to create a demand for cheap labour which may result in intensification of child labour, especially as the supply chains weaken. Against this backdrop, this session will examine the global increase in vulnerability of children to child labour, and child trafficking. Thereafter, discussions will be held to find urgent and efficient solutions to these issues, with a particular focus on the role of legislation in global supply chains, but also social protection and welfare programmes and education.

 


Thursday, September 10

The Education Crisis: How to Ensure We Don’t Lose a Generation Due to the Pandemic 

12pm EDT / 4pm UTC / 5pm BST / 6pm CET / 9.30pm IST

David Edwards, Secretary General, Education International (moderator)
Ulrik Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate
Dr. Maisha Reza, Chairperson, Commonwealth Students’ Association
Edvardas Vabuolas, Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU)

BOY LEARNING OUTDOORS ASIA smlEducation is a critical factor in enabling children to realise their full set of human rights, but with hundreds of millions of children never entering school, and the threat of millions more never going back, it is vital that the international community galvanises action to prevent their futures being lost to the impact of COVID-19. Health concerns led to school closures affecting more than 190 countries during the early months of the pandemic. At the peak of the pandemic over 1.6 billion were out of school or university, with the vast majority being school children. With estimates of potential child drop-out numbers ranging between 6.8 million and 10.9 million, and a low-end prediction of US$10 trillion being lost in future earnings to this generation of school children, COVID-19 has already instigated a global education crisis, one which could endure for years to come if serious interventions are not taken. Before the pandemic, the world was already facing formidable challenges in fulfilling the promise of education as a basic human right. Approximately 258 million children and adolescents were out of school in 2018 – a number which has remained stagnant over several years. The total includes 59 million children of primary-school age, 62 million of lower-secondary-school age and 138 million of upper-secondary age. Compounding this already bleak situation is that almost 400 million children of primary-school age who were enrolled lacked access to quality education, leading to a lack of basic reading skills. This session will discuss the multiple impacts of the pandemic on education for marginalised children – for those who were in school and for those for whom school remains a distant dream. It will also explore the interventions needed to resolve the magnified education crisis to protect the future of every child.

 


Increased Vulnerability of Children on the Move

1pm EDT / 5pm UTC / 6pm BST / 7pm CET / 10.30pm IST

Kerry Kennedy, President, RFK Human Rights (moderator)
Seme Ludanga Faustino, Co-Founder, I CAN SOUTH SUDAN
HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan
Philip Jennings, Co-President, International Peace Bureau, 1910 Nobel Peace Prize-winning organisation
Josie Naughton, CEO, Help Refugees
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate
Marianna Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and 2020 UN Nelson Mandela Prize Laureate
Abraham M. Keita, Youth Activist And International Children’s Peace Prize Winner 2015

Maram Baradan 16UNHCR’s most recent Global Trends report reveals, by the end of 2019, the estimated number of internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylum-seekers was at an all-time high, totaling at least 79.5 million people. Of these, 13 million children were refugees – with 400,000 asylum applications made by children unaccompanied by any family member – and more than 18 million children were internally displaced by conflicts or disasters. Children on the move have long suffered multiple deprivations; forced to flee wars and disasters, sometimes without family, and struggling to survive with no familiar comforts, the UN Secretary-General has identified them as ‘ultra-vulnerable’. COVID-19 is exacerbating their hardships. Fundamental public services, including education, healthcare, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, and child protection – let alone resettlement and asylum services – were already woefully lacking for this marginalised child population. Furthermore, since the pandemic, children on the move have found themselves at the bottom of the list to receive emergency measures to protect them from the impacts of COVID-19. At best, this places them at severe risk of losing years of their childhoods; at worst, they can be exposed to the worst forms of exploitation. This session will examine the increased challenges and risks faced by children on the move due to COVID-19, including the impact of new legislation imposed due to the pandemic, and explore ways to protect this deeply marginalised child population.

 


Closing Plenary: The Way Forward

2pm EDT / 6pm UTC / 7pm BST / 8pm CET / 11.30pm IST

HE José Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate and President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012)
HE Rula Ghani, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
HE José Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Peter Kwasi Kodjie, Secretary General, All-Africa Students Union
Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate

BOY SMILING AFRICA smlThe world has never faced such a common enemy, yet the global response by our leaders has been to leave the most vulnerable children on earth to fend for themselves. World leaders of the class of 2020 are facing the crisis that will define their place in history. The pandemic is an act of nature, but if millions starve and millions more children quit school and become child labourers it will be our unequal response that is to blame. We need immediate action to ensure the most marginalised have their fair share of the global response. At the United Nations, world leaders must review the dreadful damage done by COVID-19 to the world’s poorest communities and realise they have faced the heaviest burden. Leaders must come together and agree on a global package of $1 trillion to help low income countries and ensure the most vulnerable to the crisis receive at least some support. Costing just slightly more than 5% of the current total wealthiest countries’ COVID-19 response, this package would save more than 70 million lives in the next decade and is an appropriate response to the tragedy of the pandemic.