Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

“Protect our Children” - Response to the UN Secretary-General’s Call on Countries to Prioritize Children’s Education, Food, Health and Safety amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

New York, 30/04/2020 - 19:35, UNIQUE ID: 200429_73
Joint Statements

Initiative launched by the EU, GRULAC and the Group of Friends of Children and the SDGs*

We strongly support the appeal by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for countries to prioritize children’s education, food, health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we welcome the release of the Policy Brief of the United Nations Secretary-General as well as the complementary Agenda for Action issued by UNICEF, which is aimed at protecting the most vulnerable children.

We express our deep concern regarding the adverse effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is presently having and will continue to have on children’s well-being, development and protection, including their access to education, food, safety and health, particularly those in vulnerable situations.

We are aware that the measures introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can expose children to numerous protection risks.

We are concerned about the damaging effects the pandemic is expected to have on children in the poorest countries, on the poorest households within countries, and on girls within poorest households, as well as the devastating risks caused by the pandemic for children in humanitarian and armed conflict-affected contexts.

We are mindful that the effects of the pandemic and the preventive measures taken may pose a challenge to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring the full enjoyment of the rights of the child. In that sense, we reiterate our firm commitment to leave no-one behind; to leave no child behind.

We must therefore work together to protect all children and act now to prevent and mitigate each of the risks they face, to ensure access to inclusive and quality education, nutrition and health care, as well as strengthen social protection systems. We must prevent and combat all forms of violence, including domestic violence, abuse and sexual exploitation of children online and offline, cyberbullying, and bridge the digital divide. We acknowledge the specific effects the crisis has on girls’ access to education and on gender-based violence. We should be doing everything we can to cushion the impact on children’s well-being, especially for those whose vulnerability has increased as a result of the current circumstances.

We commit to fully respect, promote and protect the rights of all children, reduce the negative impacts during and after the pandemic, as well as ensure respect for the best interests of the child while striving to take into account, where possible, children’s views.

We recognize that children and young people are positive change agents and commit to partner with them now and in the future, to ease the lasting impact COVID-19 will have on human health, society and the economy and secure a healthy, safe and sustainable future and planet for all in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We are committed to working together in solidarity, across nations and generations, to address global challenges. We welcome the work of the UN system working across all settings and acting as one UN in upholding the rights of the child in the short as well as long terms. We further commit to continue working with all partners at all levels to ensure that children can reach their full potential and to build a better future.


*63 Members of the Group of Friends of Children and the SDGs joined the initiative.

Signatories (as of 30 April 2020)

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Albania
  3. Algeria
  4. Andorra
  5. Angola
  6. Antigua and Barbuda
  7. Argentina
  8. Armenia
  9. Australia
  10. Austria
  11. Azerbaijan
  12. Bahamas
  13. Bahrain
  14. Bangladesh
  15. Barbados
  16. Belarus
  17. Belgium
  18. Belize
  19. Benin
  20. Bhutan
  21. Bolivia
  22. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  23. Botswana
  24. Brazil
  25. Brunei
  26. Bulgaria
  27. Burkina Faso
  28. Burundi
  29. Cabo Verde
  30. Cambodia
  31. Canada
  32. Chile
  33. China
  34. Colombia
  35. Comoros
  36. Congo (Republic of)
  37. Costa Rica
  38. Côte d’Ivoire
  39. Croatia
  40. Cuba
  41. Cyprus
  42. Czechia
  43. Denmark
  44. Djibouti
  45. Dominica
  46. Dominican Republic
  47. Ecuador
  48. Egypt
  49. El Salvador
  50. Eritrea
  51. Estonia
  52. Eswatini
  53. Ethiopia
  54. Equatorial Guinea
  55. Fiji
  56. Finland
  57. France
  58. The Gambia
  59. Georgia
  60. Germany
  61. Ghana
  62. Greece
  63. Grenada
  64. Guatemala
  65. Guinea
  66. Guyana
  67. Haiti
  68. Honduras
  69. Hungary
  70. Iceland
  71. India
  72. Indonesia
  73. Ireland
  74. Israel
  75. Italy
  76. Jamaica
  77. Japan
  78. Jordan
  79. Kazakhstan
  80. Kenya
  81. Korea (Republic of)
  82. Kuwait
  83. Kyrgyzstan
  84. Laos
  85. Latvia
  86. Lebanon
  87. Lesotho
  88. Liberia
  89. Liechtenstein
  90. Lithuania
  91. Luxembourg
  92. Madagascar
  93. Malawi
  94. Malaysia
  95. Maldives
  96. Mali
  97. Malta
  98. Marshall Islands
  99. Mauritius
  100. Mexico
  101. Micronesia (Federated States of)
  102. Moldova
  103. Monaco
  104. Mongolia
  105. Montenegro
  106. Morocco
  107. Mozambique
  108. Myanmar
  109. Namibia
  110. Nauru
  111. Nepal
  112. The Netherlands
  113. New Zealand
  114. Nicaragua
  115. Niger
  116. Nigeria
  117. North Macedonia
  118. Norway
  119. Oman
  120. Pakistan
  121. Palau
  122. Panama
  123. Papua New Guinea
  124. Paraguay
  125. Peru
  126. Philippines
  127. Poland
  128. Portugal
  129. Qatar
  130. Romania
  131. Rwanda
  132. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  133. Saint Lucia
  134. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  135. Samoa
  136. San Marino
  137. Saudi Arabia
  138. Senegal
  139. Serbia
  140. Seychelles
  141. Sierra Leone
  142. Singapore
  143. Slovakia
  144. Slovenia
  145. South Africa
  146. South Sudan
  147. Spain
  148. Sri Lanka
  149. Sudan
  150. Suriname
  151. Sweden
  152. Switzerland
  153. Tanzania
  154. Thailand
  155. Togo
  156. Tunisia
  157. Turkey
  158. Turkmenistan
  159. Tuvalu
  160. Trinidad and Tobago
  161. Uganda
  162. Ukraine
  163. United Arab Emirates
  164. United Kingdom
  165. Uruguay
  166. Uzbekistan
  167. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
  168. Viet Nam
  169. Yemen
  170. Zambia
  171. State of Palestine
  172. European Union


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