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The Sustainable Development Goals and Children

The Sustainable Development Goals and children

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN in September 2015 after years of discussion, interstate consultations and difficult negotiations. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), like their predecessors – the Millennium Development Goals – set forth in the Millennium Declaration, will play an important role over the next years in determining the global approach to international development. They will also inevitably affect the implementation of child rights by identifying areas that will receive funding from international donors, and having a significant impact on issues that will be the focus of NGOs.

Sustainable development goals are aimed at improving the lives of children and youth, which will be achieved through a number of specific goals and objectives. They relate to reducing poverty and hunger (goals 1 and 2), improving health (goal 3), education (goal 4) and gender equality (goal 5), ending violence against children (goal 16.2), and a number of other areas that affect the lives of children.

Despite the obvious emphasis placed on interests of children, the Goals, unfortunately, do not include tasks that directly affect the child rights, i.e. the adopted program does not take into account a rights-based approach and does not perceive children as right holders. In parts where human rights are mentioned, they are not presented as legally binding standards that will guide the program’s implementation. Neglecting human rights-based approach in general, the Goals constitute a framework in which children continue to be seen as objects of charity and not as holders of human rights.

Kazakhstan is actively involved in the process of achieving the SDGs for children. Indeed, the achievement of goals related to education and health care, gender equality and elimination of violence against women and children, child labor, poverty, increasing access to justice will help young citizens of our country to live and develop fully.