15 March 2021

#RFSD2021 - Session 2.2: Young people and COVID-19: Impact and Solutions, with a specific focus on SDG8 and SDG10

COVID-19 disproportionally impacted young people. School closures, disruptions to formal and informal work, labour immobility, fractured social networks, and diminished access to services continue to impact young people. This round table will highlight the youth’s experiences, best practice and challenges faced by young people due to COVID-19, and government and youth organizations responses to the crisis.

Seeking to answer the question of how to advance towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in times of COVID response and recovery, the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development aims to give space to a wide range of discussions in various side events and meetings, one of these being Session 2-2: Young people and COVID-19: Impact and Solutions, which was led by the UN Issue-based Coalition on Adolescent and Youth, UNICEF, UNFPA, the UN Mayor Group on Children and Youth, European Youth Forum, Group of European Youth for Change.

Session 2.2 highlighted the youth’s experiences, best practice and challenges faced by young people due to COVID-19, and innovative policy responses to the crisis. The scene was set by 4 young people presenting the impact of COVID-19 on youth from different perspectives and then the focus shifted on a more policy-centered approach, with 4 speakers from Moldova, Kosovo, Turkey and Sweden addressing the following topics:
  • Addressing inequities and maintaining social cohesion following the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Harnessing the momentum to build resilient economies and communities, close the ‘digital divide’, and ensure all young people equally benefit from digitalization;
  • Creating and implementing policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis with young people as partners;
  • Mitigating the immediate, medium- and long-term impacts on learning, job opportunities, social interactions, of the COVID-19 crisis on the young women and men.

Some key findings of the discussions:

  • The pandemic has put a lot of young people’s futures on hold, greatly impacting their social lives, quality education, career opportunities, and mental health.
  • There is an increase in youth unemployment since several young people worldwide work in the informal sector that has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Child labour has unfortunately increased.
  • Women have experienced an increased burden of unpaid care work and for young people with disabilities, the pandemic has brought to the surface already existing issues such as institutionalization, isolation and: lack of accessible environments highlighted by the digital tools used during the pandemic.
  • The lack of rapid intervention to address the mental well-being of young people could have a devastating long-term effect; building resilience of young people through life skills education should become a priority in the school curricula.


In March 2013 we celebrated GEYC13 Anniversary