The President of the UN General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has called for investment in young people’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Muhammad-Bande made the call in his remarks at a virtual event to mark the 2020 World Youth Skills Day on Wednesday.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond”.
He said that although young people were particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of the pandemic, they were not passive victims.
“They are also active responders and agents of change, reacting to these difficult times with activism, volunteerism and innovation.
“These actions need to be invested in, recognised and amplified. They are resilient.
“It is our responsibility as decision makers to work with youths to ensure that they have access to the necessary opportunities to pursue their education, employment and aspirations for the future,” he said.
Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, urged collaboration by all stakeholders in this regard.
Citing statistics, the Nigerian envoy said that COVID-19 had disrupted education for 1.6 billion children and young people, representing no fewer than 90 per cent of all enrolled learners.
“Prior to the onset of COVID-19, young people were already three times more likely to be unemployed, compared to their adult counterparts.
According to him, building back together is only possible with investment in the young generation.
He noted that recovery from the pandemic would be difficult except the youths were empowered to actively participate in society and given increased access to education, training and jobs.