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A global decade of action to deliver on the SDGs

Important new resources to accelerate progress toward SDGs with a focus on children

Children, largely from Jordan's ethnic Dom Community, in a UNICEF-supported Makani where they receive integrated learning, child protection and youth services.

(27 February 2020) In September last year, the UN Secretary General announced a global call for a Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. This appeal to governments, the UN system and all development partners, sets out a need for scaled up ambition and urgent action for the goals. UNICEF is committed to do its part, starting with efforts to improve SDG awareness, inspire action and hold leaders to account on the commitments made in the goals.

New Resources on SDGs and Children

To that end, UNICEF has produced a newly launched SDG portal that outlines why the SDGs matter for children and why child rights matter in achieving the SDGs. All goals are relevant to children and every child deserves a future where the SDGs are met.

Additional pages include “How to Achieve the SDGs For and With Children” outlining our partnerships and resources for educating, engaging and empowering children and young people on the SDGs as well as “Resources on the Sustainable Development Goals,” providing key resources and research on the SDGs and child rights.

We trust these pages will be a helpful resource as UNICEF colleagues and offices continue to support governments and partners in their SDG implementation, monitoring and review activities. This year, fifty governments are reporting SDG plans and progress in July, offering an opportunity to scale commitments to child rights in the context of SDG implementation. For additional guidance and tools to advocate with your government counterparts in the design of their Voluntary National Review (VNR), kindly see specific resources here.

Monitoring Progress in All Countries

Achieving universal health coverage is at the core of Sustainable Development Goal 3 – ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. The Countdown to 2030 initiative regularly tracks progress in the countries experiencing the highest burdens of maternal and child mortality. Its 2017 report highlights reductions in maternal and child mortality over the past two decades, but greater efforts are needed to achieve the 2030 goals.

Countdown’s updated 2019 country profiles and dashboards include the latest data available for 139 countries. These data show whether coverage for essential interventions in a given country is accelerating, stagnating, or even reversing. Each dashboard includes data on: demographics, nutrition, coverage for key reproductive, maternal, newborn, adolescent and child health interventions, equity, and policy, systems and financial flows.

Access Country Data Dashboards

Key Messages

  • Despite substantial progress in reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality worldwide, inequities persist. Data show countries in sub-Saharan Africa are lagging most behind.
  • Coverage of health interventions is higher for those that are well resourced, can take place at planned times (such as preventive services), and do not depend on a functioning healthcare system.
  • The indicators for monitoring progress need to be revised to include proven interventions for older children, adolescents, and adult women.
  • Further dis-aggregation of intervention coverage by equity measures is important to better understand who is being left behind.


Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Publication Publication

Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a new opportunity to address the key development challenges of our time with the aim to improve the well-being and rights of all people while protecting the natural environment. Children are important agents and beneficiaries in this process: many children are not only among the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change, they are also the generation that will reach adulthood during the realization of the 2030 Agenda. To create the sustainable, long-term transformation ambitiously laid out in Agenda 2030, new transformative approaches to policy must be implemented and applied to children and youth—approaches that target the underlying generative framework of social injustice as opposed to implementing affirmative remedies that simply seek to alleviate the symptoms. The objective of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework to help assess the transformative potential of policies – particularly with regard to their impact on children and youth – and how these are meaningfully integrated and represented in decision-making processes. It will shed light on the policy space for transformative change by analysing a range of relevant factors which present both challenges and opportunities for fostering child rights and well-being through the implementation of Agenda 2030. The paper then applies the framework to a selection of policy areas that are of high relevance for child development, such as social policy and care policy assessing necessary means of implementation such as resource mobilization and governance systems and looking at economic and environmental impacts in a cross-cutting way. The aim is to stretch boundaries and invite new thinking on how to grasp the numerous opportunities offered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to approach development challenges holistically and from a child-centred perspective. This involves integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and fostering cross-sectoral approaches.
Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries
Publication Publication

Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries

This Report Card offers an assessment of child well-being in the context of sustainable development across 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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