World Youth Skills Day 2021 will again take place in a challenging context due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. UNESCO estimates that schools were either fully or partially closed for more than 30 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021 in half the countries of the world. In late June, 19 countries still had full school closures, affecting nearly 157 million learners. And 768 million more learners were affected by partial school closures.
A five-year EUR 9 million project aimed at strengthening the production, availability, delivery and application of science-based information, supporting decision-makers was today launched at the Pacific Climate Change Centre in Apia, Samoa. This project will provide innovative and collaborative solutions to manage climate-related risks and to support sustainable development in the Pacific.
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified human rights and democracy challenges in many parts of the world. That is why the EU has placed human rights front and centre of its foreign policy. This is one of the main features of the freshly adopted 2020 European Union Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World. While the world is confronted with unique challenges, the EU maintains its leading role in supporting human rights, democracy and rule of law, within its borders and across the globe.
Today we mark World Refugee Day, in the midst of a pandemic that has had a deleterious impact on public health, as well as on the economy. Refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants and stateless persons have felt this crisis most acutely and risk being left behind. This year, as we reflect on World Refugee Day, we must also recall that to win the battle against the pandemic, safe and effective vaccines should be accessible to all across the globe.