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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.
Disaster risk reduction in times of COVID-19: What have we learned?

AUTHOR(S)
Wirya Khim

Published: August 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has more than ever shown the changing risk environment, as well as the systemic and overlaying nature of risks that affect and threaten all sectors. It has reinforced the call for multi-sectoral, multi-hazard and preventive and anticipatory approaches that consistently integrate disaster, climate and crisis risk management for strengthening the resilience of people, their agricultural livelihoods and the ecosystems they depend on in a sustainable manner. In her opinion paper, FAO Natural Resources Officer Wirya Khim discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture and food systems through a disaster risk reduction lens and offers some key lessons learned that are geared toward evidence-based and risk-informed interventions for inclusive, resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems.
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.
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.
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.
Food systems and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
The COVID-19 pandemic points out some changes in the consumption patterns of the population. It appears that consumers have tended to prefer less nutritious, less fresh and more economical diets. Such a decision could be explained by a significant decrease in household income and the mobility restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Healthy eating minimises the risk of disease. That hasn't changed during the pandemic. Governments' initiatives must, therefore, aim at a healthier diet, ensuring access to fresh and nutritious products for people, promoting communication campaigns that value healthy eating and, finally, facilitating the marketing of fresh and quality products produced locally by small and medium producers
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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.