The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN in September 2015 after years of discussion, global consultations and fraught negotiations. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), like the Millennium Development Goals before them, will play a significant role in the coming years in determining the global approach to international development. They will also inevitably impact children’s rights advocacy by determining the areas that will receive international donor money and heavily influencing the issues NGOs focus on.
Though the goals focus on sustainable development, they are inextricably linked to human rights generally, and the rights of children specifically. Children are affected by all of the SDGs, whether poverty (Goal 1), hunger (Goal 2), health (Goal 3), education (Goal 4), gender equality (Goal 5), climate change (Goal 13) or violence against children (Goal 16.2).
Despite this apparent focus on children’s interests, the SDGs fail to explicitly recognise children’s rights. Where human rights are mentioned, they appear to be deployed as a rhetorical flourish rather than presented as legally-binding commitments and standards. In neglecting a rights-based framework, the overall narrative of the SDGs is one in which children will continue to be seen as objects of charity rather than as holders of human rights.
Read more on children rights and the SDGs.
Access to Justice and violence against children
In a submission to OHCHR’s report on "Protection of the Rights of the Child and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", CRIN focuses on two main issues: access to justice and violence against children. This focus is not to undermine the importance of realising children’s rights across the full ambit of the SDGs, but to highlight aspects that risk being underdeveloped. Also read CRIN's submission for the OHCHR's report on children's rights for the global review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development (june 2017).
A Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution also set as the theme of the annual day on the rights of the child 2017 “Protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This took place in March 2017 during the 34th session of the HRC. You can read a summary of the day's debate here.
Find other resources dedicated to the SDGs and children rights below.
- Environmental issues and children’s rights, CRIN
- Mapping the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF, 2016
- Leaving no one behind: How far on the way to universal primary and secondary education? UNESCO, July 2016
- The Human rights guide to the SDGs, The Danish Institute for Human Rights