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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNDER DEVELOPMENT UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Social protection and child labour: eliminating child labour in agriculture with social protection
COVID-19 and its direct and indirect economic impacts particularly affect rural populations, leading to an increase in hunger and poverty. To cope with this situation, rural households may likely resort to using child labour among other negative coping strategies, facilitated by the closure of schools in response to the spread of the virus. The prevalence of child labour remains high in agricultural sub-sectors. Because social protection coverage remains limited and cash payments and other types of support to subsistence farmers, forest communities, fisherfolk and artisanal fishers are often scarce or irregular, FAO encourages the expansion of social protection to rural areas as an effective strategy for eliminating child labour. This information note aims at outlining what are child labour and social protection, how social protection can significantly contribute to eliminating child labour in agriculture, and what are FAO’s planned efforts to leverage on social protection interventions to generate knowledge and increase impact at country level on child labour elimination. 
Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Africa
In addition to its drastic impact to human health globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the economies globally and notably in Africa. Countries on the continent have taken various measures to try and contain the spread of COVID-19 such as lockdowns, curfews, closure of borders and other movement restrictions including quarantines and roadblocks, closure of markets, fear of animals, among others. Early indications suggest that the impact on agriculture and food security and levels of poverty and malnutrition will be significant if urgent actions are not taken. Although the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be more significant than the SARS epidemic, the H1N1 flu epidemic and the Ebola epidemic, COVID-19 impact on economic well-being will be observed through two distinct but similar channels. First are the direct and indirect effects of the sickness and mortality, which will lead to an increase in health care costs and loss of economic activity of infected individuals during their illness. Second, are the behavioral effects resulting from people’s fear of contagion and measures taken by governments to control the spread of the infection. The impacts of essential containment/isolation and distancing measures on social and economic well-being are yet to be realized and could have tremendous effects, notably among the most vulnerable.
Migrant workers and remittances in the context of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa

African migrants stimulate economic growth and development in areas of destination, transit and origin through their labour, skills transfer, consumption and investments. Their remittances also make significant contributions to food security, human capital, rural development and overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in areas of origin. The impact of COVID-19 affects migrant workers disproportionally. Often precarious working conditions and overcrowded living and transport arrangements increase their vulnerability to contagion and loss of employment, threatening their health and livelihoods. Those working under informal arrangements, commonly in the agriculture sector, are largely excluded from accessing real-time reliable information, social protection, healthcare and government response measures.

FAO-WFP early warning analysis of acute food insecurity hotspots

This FAO-WFP early warning analysis of acute food insecurity hotspots report highlights countries which are at risk of significant food security deterioration and in particular acute hunger and associated malnutrition. The analysis takes into account all major drivers of food insecurity, with a particular focus on the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a forward-looking perspective, outlining the likely evolution of impacts over the next 6 or so months aiming to inform urgent action to safeguard food security of the most vulnerable communities in these locations. The report is divided into three sections. It firstly includes an overview of the main pathways of secondary impacts of COVID-19 on food security, nutrition, and agriculture. This is followed by regional overviews and a focus on hotspot countries. The last section lists strategic recommendations which should be urgently implemented to avoid a large scale deterioration of acute food insecurity.

The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2020

Updates for many countries have made it possible to estimate hunger in the world with greater accuracy this year. In particular, newly accessible data enabled the revision of the entire series of undernourishment estimates for China back to 2000, resulting in a substantial downward shift of the series of the number of undernourished in the world. Nevertheless, the revision confirms the trend reported in past editions: the number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. The report also shows that the burden of malnutrition in all its forms continues to be a challenge. There has been some progress for child stunting, low birthweight and exclusive breastfeeding, but at a pace that is still too slow. Childhood overweight is not improving and adult obesity is on the rise in all regions.The report complements the usual assessment of food security and nutrition with projections of what the world may look like in 2030, if trends of the last decade continue. Projections show that the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and, despite some progress, most indicators are also not on track to meet global nutrition targets. The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socio economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enabling agricultural innovation systems to promote appropriate technologies and practices for farmers, rural youth and women during COVID-19
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will vary for different groups of rural population, with the highest impact expected to be on farmers and other vulnerable groups, especially women and youth. Targeted support is feasible only by activating a network of actors or organizations within agricultural innovation systems (AIS) and promoting customized technologies and practices suitable for location specific contexts. his brief illustrates the extensive repository of good practices and technologies provided by FAO as part of its online knowledge portals. These practices and technologies can be easily adopted to respond to the needs of the smallholders, rural youth and women affected by lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, improve their food security and create income-generating opportunities. They have been applied and tested on the ground and packaged for the benefit of various AIS actors.
Africa’s youth in agrifood systems: Innovationin the context of COVID-19
This policy brief focuses mainly on the pandemic’s impacts on the youth involved in entrepreneurial activities in agrifood systems (young agripreneurs).
Rural youth and the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all parts of society and livelihoods around the globe. It is though worth recognizing that disadvantaged segments of populations like rural young women and men will be impacted harder, nevertheless, when proactively engaged, they have demonstrated to be innovators in their own sectors to surmount the pandemic impact. As governments and development partners take steps to address the economic and social effects of COVID-19, they should not allow a reversal of the rural youth progress achieved in recent years in terms of inclusion in food systems, access to education, vocational education and training, and access to decent employment. While in the immediate future the majority of global resources will be redirected toward the fight against the virus, rural young women and men, should remain a top priority both during and after the pandemic in order to support them to reach their full potential, allow them to prosper and also ensure a sustainable rural recovery. Furthermore, transforming food systems to be inclusive, sustainable, efficient, healthy and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, should be connected in all COVID-19 recovery measures.
Food system policy priorities and programmatic actions for healthy diets in the context of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply and demand shocks in the food systems, disproportionately affecting the poor and nutritionally vulnerable groups. A possible economic slowdown further compounds challenges faced by governments in tackling malnutrition in all its forms.This brief presents policy and programmatic actions adopted by countries and development partners to ensure that food and agriculture responses promote healthy diets and improve nutrition. Furthermore, this brief explains supply and demand measures, taken from recent worldwide good practices.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): addressing the impacts of COVID-19 in food crises

At the beginning of April, the 2020 edition of the Global Report on Food Crises was issued, presenting a stark warning for the future. In 2019 – prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – 135 million people experienced crisis and worse levels of acute food insecurity. A further 183 million were on the edge in stressed food security conditions – in other words, just one shock away from severe acute food insecurity. COVID-19-related restrictions risk pushing many more into crisis. As the pandemic progresses in food crisis contexts, food availability as well as food access could emerge as a serious concern – in both rural and urban areas.The Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan has been revised significantly upwards to reflect the increasingly urgent need to address non-health impacts of COVID-19. Of these needs, the food security sector represents the largest component, for a total of USD 1.6 billion. As part of this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is seeking USD 350 million to ensure the provision of critical assistance where there are already high levels of need, while meeting new needs emerging from the effects of COVID-19.

Gendered impacts of COVID-19 and equitable policy responses in agriculture, food security and nutrition

AUTHOR(S)
Susan Kaaria; Erdgin Mane; Tacko Ndiaye (et al.)

This brief compiles evidence from current and previous epidemics to explore the socio-economic implications of the impact of the pandemic on food systems and rural economies, and how a gender-sensitive approach can help address key policy issues related to the functioning of food and agricultural systems and the special circumstances of rural women. It also provides concrete policy recommendations to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on rural women and girls.
Impact of COVID-19 on informal workers
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major economic and labour market shock, presenting significant impacts in terms of unemployment and underemployment for informal workers. In rural areas, the livelihoods of especially the self-employed and wage workers are at risk, because agrifood supply chains and markets are being disrupted due to lockdowns and restrictions of movement. Families might resort to negative coping strategies such as distress sale of assets, taking out loans from informal moneylenders, or child labour. Specific groups of workers, including women, youth, children, indigenous people, and migrant workers, who are over represented in the informal economy, will experience further exacerbation of their vulnerability. Response measures should foster the expansion of social protection coverage to informal workers in agriculture and rural sectors, including timely cash transfers, food or in-kind distributions. Specific measures should be tailored towards women workers with care responsibilities at home, families that may resort to child labour as a coping strategy, as well as other vulnerable subgroups. Efforts should be made to maintain agricultural supply chains and strengthen the market linkages for local producers, while promoting decent work.
FAO COVID-19 response and recovery programme: economic inclusion and social protection to reduce poverty
The COVID-19 pandemic is, directly and indirectly, impacting health and well-being around the globe. Illness and containment measures are compounding the social and economic disadvantages of the most vulnerable in society. These social and economic impacts stand to cause devastating setbacks to efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pervasive inequalities between rural and urban inhabitants, rich and poor, women and men will exacerbate these effects. People in areas impacted by severe climate change, conflict, forced displacement, and migration will be even more vulnerable.
Mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition of schoolchildren
While cases of COVID-19 appear to be fewer among children (and symptoms generally milder), national responses to the pandemic can have important consequences for child nutrition and educational outcomes.
Urban fod systems and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide, affecting the food security and nutrition of urban populations. With up to 70% of the global food supply destined for urban consumption, the disruption of urban food systems has particularly affected the food distribution and the food retail sectors. The management of the crisis by city and local governments can therefore play a major role in preventing the spread of the virus and, at the same time, in mitigating the disruptions in their food systems and any negative effects on vulnerable populations. It was consequently deemed very important for FAO to map the municipal responses to the emergency, and to analyze progress and setbacks in managing disruptions in the urban food systems and related implications for food security and nutrition. Such understanding will strengthen the evidence-base on which countries will build policies and programmes dealing with the crisis and its effects. It will also provide valuable information on how to strengthen the performance and resilience of urban food systems.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.