Sydney, Australia, 25 September 2015: Today, 193 world leaders will commit to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), at the UN General Assembly in New York.
These 17 Global Goals aim to achieve three extraordinary things over the next 15 years: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.
For ChildFund Alliance, the launch of the Global Goals has special and historical significance. During the last three years, we have urged world leaders to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda included specific targets to reduce risks and strengthen safe and nurturing environments for children. Prioritising the end of child abuse and exploitation in the SDGs has been the cornerstone of ChildFund’s Free From Violence campaign.
So it is an important milestone to see child protection included in the new global development agenda; we know we cannot end poverty without also addressing violence and exploitation of children. ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “We welcome the Global Goals not only for cementing the world’s commitment to ending violence against children, but also for addressing other child protection issues through targets on education, child labour, gender equality and birth registration.
“Our experience working in many of the world’s poorest communities with highly vulnerable children, has made clear that reducing violence is not only imperative to alleviate children’s suffering but also key to ending extreme child poverty.”
Importantly, ChildFund ensured that children could participate in the SDG consultation process, providing more than 16,000 children from 50 countries, including Australia, the opportunity to have their views and opinions heard. In 2014, one in three of the world’s children stated that their rights to protection were not being met, as part of our Small Voices, Big Dreams survey in 2014.
Meg Gardinier, Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance, says: “We all have a duty to listen to children and young people. ChildFund believes they must be part of the process and have a seat at the table where both their present reality and future is negotiated.”
Within the Global Goals, specific targets have been established which have a child protection focus. These include:
- creating safe, non-violent, inclusive learning environments;
- eliminating harmful traditional practices, such as early and forced marriage;
- eradicating the worst forms of child labour;
- providing universal access to safe green and public spaces;
- achieving universal birth registration, so children are legally recognised; and
- ending the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.
ChildFund now calls on governments, the United Nations, and civil society to realise this new vision for sustainable development through decisive actions and investments.
Spence says: “There is no doubt that ending violence against children is an ambitious undertaking. However the experience of the MDGs makes it possible to believe that many of the forms of violence against children can be reduced substantially, if not eliminated.
“Now is the time to embrace the new global agenda, prioritise the protection of children and realise children’s fundamental human right to a childhood free from violence and exploitation.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About ChildFund Alliance
A worldwide alliance of children’s development organisations, we work in 58 countries to improve the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, help them overcome poverty, and achieve their rights. Founded 75 years ago, our members are not-for-profit organisations which work directly with children, families and their communities. The Alliance seeks to speak with one global voice for, with and on behalf of children. Our vision is a world in which children realise their rights and achieve their potential.
About Nigel Spence
Nigel Spence has been the CEO of ChildFund Australia since 2006. During this time, he has overseen the expansion of ChildFund’s child-focused development programs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam, as well as continuing aid and development work through ChildFund Alliance partners in Africa, Asia and the Americas. During his 30-year career, Nigel has gained extensive experience in the provision of services to vulnerable youth and children, including senior roles with the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (CEO), and Children and Youth Services with Centacare, Catholic Community Services, Sydney (director).
About Meg Gardinier
Meg Gardinier was appointed to the role of Secretary-General of the ChildFund Alliance in 2015. She has over 25 years’ experience in international development, working for organisations including Save the Children, UNICEF and the International Catholic Child Bureau. An advocate specialising in women and children’s issues, Meg most recently worked with the Elevate Children Funders Group, a donor collaborative of 12 foundations committed to protecting children against violence. A founding member of the Campaign for US Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Meg is currently a board member of End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) and is based in the US.