Nordic Cooperation on Children and Young People’s Opportunities for Participation and Development During the Covid-19 Pandemic
There is a need to acquire more knowledge about how we in the Nordic countries have safeguarded the right of children and young people to be heard and involved, including in terms of the services offered during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.
A wide range of necessary measures have been taken throughout the Nordic region to protect the population from the virus and to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic. As a result of the measures implemented, a greater number of children and young people may now find themselves in a vulnerable situation. Schools, along with cultural and recreational activities, have been closed or partially closed over periods, and many services related to healthcare, welfare and assistance have become less accessible. These are services that specifically contribute to protecting and helping children and young people and those in difficult life situations.
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ strategy for Children and Young People in the Nordic countries is to create good living conditions for children and young people and increase their opportunities to have an influence. In line with the strategy, this project will promote the right of children and young people to participate and be heard in all matters concerning them, pursuant to Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This right and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are interconnected. By hearing and involving all children and young people, we ensure that the impact of the measures implemented during the pandemic is satisfactorily investigated. Measures that are satisfactorily investigated are more accurate and specific and, at the same time, are able to protect and help the most vulnerable and susceptible.
The goal of the Nordic Council of Ministers is for the Nordic Region to become the most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. For the Nordic region to succeed in this, we must ensure that all children and young people in the Nordic countries are afforded equal opportunities for participation and development.
The Nordic Welfare Centre will lead a four-year Nordic cooperation project focusing on the right of children and young people to participate and have influence, and their opportunities to do so, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Research, surveys and political instruments have been utilised to investigate and determine the impact on children and young people in the Nordic countries. In the project, knowledge will be shared, disseminated and further built on.
The project is being carried out on behalf of the Nordic Children’s and Youth Committee (NORDBUK), the advisory and coordinating body in all children’s and youth issues in the Nordic region, and the Nordic Council of Ministers for Health and Social Affairs. The project period expires at year-end 2024.
The project will compile and disseminate knowledge and experiences about the Nordic countries’ Covid-19 measures, as well as gather knowledge about how the measures have affected conditions for children and young people to participate and have influence. The project will particularly focus on the fact that schools and recreational venues have been less accessible or closed over periods during the pandemic. The target group is all children and young people aged 0-25, with a specific focus on those who were already in vulnerable life situations before the pandemic.
The perspective of children’s and young people’s rights forms basis for the work and includes the involvement of children and youth organisations as well as civil society in general. Children and young people in the Nordic countries must be heard and involved over the course of the project.