We are #CovidUnder19, a collective of children, young people, national and international civil society organisations and academics. We believe that children and young people are the backbone of building back better from the pandemic. Recovery and renewal from Covid-19 requires investing in children and young people and seeing them as key partners in shaping the post-pandemic world.
Through a global survey of over 26,000 children, we learned that children felt that they were being forgotten and their rights were not being respected by their governments in the responses to the pandemic. But we also learned that children crave safe and uplifting connections to improve their mental health and combat their isolation, and that they want to be seen, heard and involved in creating a better future for all humanity. We honour their voices and are driven by their aspirations.
It is disheartening to see that governments are reluctant to include children in the Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum 2021. Knowing the importance of children in the project to build back better, we feel that failing to include children will not only compromise children’s right to be heard, as enshrined in Article 12 of the UN Convention on Rights of Child, but undermine other rights in the Convention and the SDGs as well.