What exactly are the Sustainable Development Goals about?
The Sustainable Development Goals, often referred to as SDGs, are 17 goals and 169 targets set in the United Nation’s “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This agenda officially entered into force in September 2015 in New York and it is the result of an intense process of consultations that has been going on for three years. During this process, the ideas, demands and needs of people worldwide were collected and then transformed into the final goals and targets. Based on the partly successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDG’s objective is very ambitious: To create a global partnership of development in order to tackle the social, economical and ecological challenges nations all over the world are facing today. It is to be especially highlighted that the 17 SDGs pose obligations for all states – for industrialized nations as well as for developing countries. Furthermore, means of implementation are already included in the agenda, which was not the case for the MDGs.
Are children’s rights taken into account in the SDGs?
Yes! About half of the 17 goals target children’s rights directly or indirectly. Especially the protection of children from violence and exploitation, sufficient healthcare for mothers and children and universal access to education are considered by the agenda. The matter of child labour is also included, as target 8.7 demands:
“[To] Take immediate and effective measures to […] secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
However, this demand is lacking proper measures on how to achieve a global abolition of child labour by 2025. The campaign ‘It’s Time to Talk’ appreciates the attention child labour is awarded in the SGDs, especially the focus on the worst forms of child labour and the recruitment of children as soldiers. Those forms of child labour gravely threatening the children’s physical and mental wellbeing must be abolished as soon as possible.
However, children are engaged in a variety of different forms of work, some of which may even be considered beneficial. Children’s rights organisations, scientists, politicians and children themselves have expressed a range of opinions on where beneficial ends and hazardous begins. We want to provide a platform for all those opinions, including the opinions of working children themselves.
How do the SDGs affect the campaign ‘time to talk!’?
From our point of view, the SDGs are important on two different levels: First of all, they directly address the matter of child labour. Second of all, during the initial consultation process preparing for the agenda, the participation of children was taken into account as well. On a newly established website, called “The world we want”, children were offered the opportunity to state their opinions and demands. Thereby, an important step towards fulfilling children’s right to participate has been taken. Right now, different stakeholders are collaborating to develop an explicit approach on how to achieve SDG 8.7 – possibly, together with “It’s Time to Talk”.