WCD 2020 will take place under very different circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. Without urgent action, this health crisis risks becoming a child-rights crisis. Disruptions to society have a heavy impact on children: on their safety, their well-being, their future and their rights.

Children have voiced their wish that we not should return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic, because they know ‘normal’ was not good enough. And children have a unique and unparalleled ability to reimagine a more equal, just and sustainable world.

Photo: UNICEF

The risk that we revert to a model that is no longer applicable to the world we now live in – a world where environmental sustainability has been compromised by our consumption and production patterns, with consequences we are only just beginning to feel. A world mired in natural disasters, droughts, floods, as well as spread of diseases from environmental contamination/pollution. A world where children and their families do not have what they need to address the complexity of the shocks and stresses they are faced with. The risk is that we only focus on short-term measures, which lock us into a world that is increasingly less-safe for children, both today and tomorrow.

WCD 2020 is the opportunity to ‘reimagine’ a world that makes children safer today, as well as tomorrow. The world has an unprecedented opportunity to put in place the solutions that respond effectively to COVID-19 now, but that also strengthen the systems to better respond to future crises – whether they be pandemics or disasters. It is an opportunity that is more cost effective and a better investment – one has higher returns and benefits in the long run, whilst also guarding against deeper threats that must not be ignored. These are the opportunities that truly pay off in terms of recovery, job opportunities, and better conditions in schools and health care facilities.

Therefore, WCD 2020 will be a major moment to encourage a green and sustainable recovery – and acknowledge the critical role children and young people need to play as well as to highlight children’s solutions to the climate crisis.

Celebration of WCD 2020 in Viet Nam

The national theme of WCD 2020 will align with the global theme to reimagine a greener and more sustainable future for children and engage the public on how everyone can take action to keep Viet Nam beautiful. Through a series of communication and advocacy activities, decision makers, businesses, and young people as climate advocates will be engaged to become aware and to take small, yet sustainable and impactful actions, to protect the environment./.

Khac Kien