As part of its continued efforts to highlight the situation facing vulnerable and exploited children as a result of COVID-19, Laureates and Leaders for Children will hold a virtual summit on 9-10 September focused on government engagement and commitments in the lead-up to the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.

COVID-19 could turn the clock back a decade or more on progress made on child labour, education, hunger, poverty, and health for hundreds of millions of children. Despite unprecedented financial commitments to protect the global economy, there continues to be little movement at the national or international level to address the potentially catastrophic impact the pandemic could have on the world’s most marginalised children.

In 2015, UN member states committed to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers; and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. In 2019, the UN designated 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. This summit will also serve as a siren call to all governments that efforts must be redoubled to achieve this goal, knowing that child labour will increase in the aftermath of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cannot become an excuse to avoid fulfilling the promises of any of the UN Sustainable Goals for our children.