The Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) lights up its headquarters in blue on the occasion of World Children's Day, which is celebrated annually on the 20th of November, and in response to the United Nations campaign to illuminate famous landmarks around the world in blue, in order to celebrate this occasion that provides an opportunity to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal, the President of ACCD, has stated that World Children's Day is an opportunity to assess the progress made in the areas on child rights globally. However, it comes this year while the world is groaning from the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic that undermined many gains and left behind a major economic, social and health crisis, which its knock-on effects will continue over generations unless we all take action to confront it at all levels. His Highness also calls for action, cooperation and solidarity in order to recover from this crisis and save the upcoming future in all aspects, as well as to create a more just, inclusive, sustainable, creative and environmentally friendly world, so our children would enjoy health, protection and development.
In continuation with its efforts in protecting children from COVID-19, and to celebrate World Children's Day, ACCD organized a Webinar Conference entitled "COVID-19 Pandemic and Child Rights: From Crisis to Opportunity" during this week, under the auspices of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal. The aim of the Conference was to shed light on the effects of Covid-19 on child rights, while working to transform the pandemic from a crisis to a real opportunity towards a better change, and to rebuild the post-Corona world for a more inclusive and sustainable world. More than 100 participants attended this Conference, representing international and regional organizations working in the field of childhood, as well the concerned experts and media. The Conference stressed the importance of paying attention to the issues of childhood and make them top priorities in the coming stage in which the whole world and children, in particular, suffer from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, delivered a speech at the opening session of the Conference. He pointed out that COVID-19 is impacting the life of every child in this region, and we are at the risk that an additional 51000 children under the age of five might die, an increase of 40% from pre-pandemic times. Moreover, 9 million children in the region have missed out their scheduled polio and measles vaccines with postponement of campaigns. The pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in recent history. Mr. Chaiban also referred to the social consequences of the pandemic including violence especially gender-based violence. He called for promoting the continuity of learning, an investment in bridging the digital gap to make learning available for every child and strengthening the social protection system to reach the most vulnerable households.
ACCD is an Arab regional non-governmental organization that has a legal entity and operating in the field of childhood under the presidency of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz. ACCD was founded in 1987 upon the initiative of the late HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, and a resolution issued by the Arab League's Conference on "Childhood and Development" that was held in Tunisia in 1986. The headquarters of ACCD is Cairo, Egypt. ACCD is seeking to be a leading organization in the field of child rights in the Arab world, and a reference for institutions, individuals and families to raising up of an Arab child able to participate in the development of his/her society.