KATHMANDU, April 2: Three different United Nations (UN) agencies including the UNICEF, ILO, and the UN Women have urged the government for greater support to working families to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on children, laborers, and women.
The UN agencies in a statement on Wednesday warned the government of possible consequences of COVID-19 pandemic like job loss, prolonged stress, deterioration of mental and physical health, and economic crisis in the country in the coming days.
“In Nepal, a child's protection and development are strongly correlated with multiple socio-economic deprivations, including access to services and exposure to violence and exploitation. COVID-19 will further exacerbate these vulnerabilities especially among the poorest and most marginalized households,” the statement quoted UNICEF Nepal's Representative Elke Wisch as saying.
“Now, more than ever, family and child-friendly employment practices in the private and public sectors, as well as social protection measures adapted to this evolving situation, will be critical to protecting children and their families from the most detrimental fall-out of the pandemic,” the statement quoted her as saying further.
Similarly, the UN agencies suggested the government come up with family-friendly policies and practices, including employment and income protection, paid leave to care for family members, flexible working arrangements and access to quality, emergency childcare.
They have also drawn the attention of government bodies to bring out the best measures to save and empower women who work in low-paying, insecure and informal jobs.
In Nepal, 90.5 percent of women in employment are involved in informal sectors, according to the National Labor Force Survey 2017/18.
The UN agencies have called on the government to strengthen social protection measures, especially for vulnerable families, including by supporting employers to continue providing employment and income and to guarantee financial support for those who lose their jobs or are unable to continue their economic activities.