COVID-19 ‘Lockdown Learners’: UNODC’s new initiative promotes Youth Action on SDGs
New Delhi, India/April 18, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis that has
affected billions of people around the world so far. All aspects of life and society are impacted by this
crisis. In the area of education, for instance, nearly 165 countries have implemented country-wide school
and university closures, as indicated by the UN Secretary General in his report entitled “Shared
responsibility, global solidarity: responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19”. More than 1.52
billion children and youth are currently out of school or university, representing 87% of the world enrolled
school and university student population. In addition, nearly 60.2 million teachers are no longer in the
This is unprecedented–the world has never seen these many children out of school at the same time.
Such lockdowns and school closures can have an adverse impact on children’s education and their mental
health, while the risks of exploitation and abuse are higher than ever, for boys and girls alike. There is also
a need to sensitize children on emerging issues, such as discrimination, gender-based violence,
misinformation and cybercrime, among others.
“UNODC believes that the crisis cannot be overcome without education, in line with the UN’s principle of
‘Leaving No One Behind’ and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key area of focus is on the
evolving implications of COVID-19 for children and youth, especially pertaining to human rights, health,
peace, security and the rule of law,” said Sergey Kapinos, UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia.
Responding to the global crisis, UNODC—under its flagship Education for Justice Initiative–has launched
the “Lockdown Learners” series of online dialogues with students and educators in India on COVID-19
and its impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), peace and the rule of law. Through these
dialogues, the aim is to sensitize students on concerns of vulnerable groups and emerging issues such as
cybercrime, misinformation, gender-based violence, discrimination, and corruption, among others. The
Lockdown Learners series also provide a platform for students to receive mentorship and knowledge
support through activity-based learning, and use their talent and skills to promote awareness and share
their ideas and solutions to address some of these problems.
“Over the last week, educational resources have been shared with partner schools in New Delhi, Mumbai
and Bengaluru, and focused interactions convened with hundreds of students and educators. UNODC
welcomes schools to join these efforts in creating a positive framework for students to be productive and
engaged during this period of lockdown, reduce stress through positive messaging, and empower young people to become champions of tomorrow,” said Samarth Pathak, UNODC’s Communications Officer for
What makes UNODC’s educational products particularly noteworthy is their emphasis on values, on
teaching children to think, and on helping them build special empowering skills. These products include
free-to-use educational material, comics, board and online games, The Zorbs cartoon series and other
modules and videos that may be used by teachers and students at home to develop an understanding on peace and the rule of law.
UNODC believes that respect for human rights and the rule of law must be the fundamental element of
youth-focused strategy with evidence-based and balanced responses. In this direction, UNODC’s
Education for Justice Initiative – under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha
Declaration– seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities
designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels. These activities help educators teach the next
generation to better understand and address problems that can undermine the rule of law and encourage
students to actively engage in their communities.
About UNODC Regional Office for South Asia
UNODC assists Member States in their struggle to combat illicit drugs and international crime. Over the
past two decades, the Regional Office for South Asia has been working with governments and civil society
in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, providing specialized assistance on challenges
pertaining to regional security, crime prevention, justice and health. The commitment to Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), human rights and the rule of law is at the core of UNODC’s mandate. For more
information, please visit our website: www.unodc.org/southasia/.
For further information/assistance, please contact:
Mr. Samarth PATHAK Cell phone: +91-9811347927
Communications Officer Email: email@example.com
UNODC Regional Office for South Asia Twitter: UNODC_ROSA
New Delhi – 110021, India Website: www.unodc.org/southasia/