European Union External Action

Child Rights and SDGs: Taking Action to Ensure No Child is Left Behind

19/10/2021 - 18:38

21 October 2021 - Event on Child Rights and SDGs

Date:                           Thursday, 21 October, 08:00AM – 09:00AM EDT/ 2:00PM-3:00PM CET

Format:                       Online interactive panel, via zoom hosted by UNICEF

Convened by:              The Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Moderated by:           Meg Gardinier, Secretary General for ChildFund Alliance


  • Introduction and welcome by Meg Gardinier, Secretary General for ChildFund Alliance
  • Video statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
  • Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice President, Commissioner for Democracy and Demography
  • Representative of Uruguay
  • Oumou Kalsom Diop, Young gender equality activist, Senegal
  • Jana Radunović, Young member of the Ombudsperson’s Golden Advisers Network, Montenegro
  • Kynan Tegar, Young Indigenous film-maker and photographer, Indonesia
  • UNICEF video on children’s rights and alternative care
  • Q and A session
  • Closing by Moderator 

Join the conversation on social media using #ChildRights


SDGs, Child Rights, and Leaving No One Behind

By design, human rights and the 2030 Agenda are inextricably linked. While a number of the Sustainable Development Goals appear to explicitly apply to children, in fact all the Goals and targets impact child rights.[1] A child rights approach, underpinned by the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is therefore critical to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its pledge to leave no one behind, including children who face one or multiple intersecting form(s) of discrimination and children in other disadvantaged situations,  many of which have been further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recognising the principle of Leave No One Behind as a central tenet of the 2030 Agenda, States are urged to accelerate implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including as a cornerstone of national Sustainable Development Goal implementation, to provide explicit and comprehensive reporting on the situation of children in all Goal-related processes, to conduct meaningful and inclusive consultations with children throughout and to expand children’s awareness of their rights and of the Goals, including in schools.

Side event on Child Rights and the SDGs – taking action to ensure no child is left behind

A major challenge in the realisation of the rights of all children and achievement of the 2030 Agenda are rising levels of poverty and worsening structural inequalities deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are children twice as likely to live in extreme poverty as adults, but the implications can be life long, with long term implications for societies and economies.  Social protection coverage remains scarce with only 1 in 4 children having any access to a child or family benefit; universal social protection is key with basic income security for children a minimum requirement.

The climate crisis also threatens to roll back progress on children’s rights, as the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation threaten health, food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

In addition, many of the barriers children continue to face in accessing services, resources and equal opportunities are the result of discriminatory laws, policies and social practices that leave particular groups of children further and further behind either based on gender identity, race, ethnicity, disability, language, religion, sexual orientation, minority status, Indigenous status, migration status, HIV status, or sometimes because of a combination of these factors related to their identity or the identity of their parents or family members. And due to their age and status, children will often have fewer opportunities for challenging discrimination with no access to courts and complaints mechanisms the same way adults do. 

This side event will offer an opportunity to shed light on the children themselves in their capacity as human rights holders, claimants and defenders. The event will allow children’s voices to be heard on the exclusion and marginalisation  they face in the exercise of their rights, including as relates to  child poverty, gender-based violence, disability inclusion, and through the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.


Young Panellists

Oumou Kalsom Diop
Oumou Kalsoum Diop, 18, has learnt to be a film director on the job - by picking up a camera and giving a voice to those she knows best. Rooted in the daily struggles of the young girls of her community, the tales she tells are both intimate and universal. From the death of a teenager who took, in an attempt to get slimmer, a poisonous concoction of drugs to the testimonies of young victims of sexual violence, her stories find an echo in children all over the world. At a time when the pandemic has given way to a rise in domestic and sexual abuse, Oumou enables teenage girls to speak freely about the issues they face. She also serves her community by leading group discussions with teenagers, during which she both listens and educate them on important topics such as sexual harassment and violence. Whatever she does, with or without her camera, Oumou strives to help girls “liberate what’s in their heart”.


Jana Radunovic
Jana Radunović, 18, works at the frontlines to promote children’s rights in her community. Passionate about justice, she joined the Network of Golden Advisers to the Ombudsman in Montenegro. In this role, she’s able to engage directly with children, setting up interactive workshops around their rights and educating them about access to justice. To make sure Montenegrin pupils had access to reliable and children-friendly information about their own rights, she helped create a brochure that was distributed in schools all over the country. Her work empowers children to be more knowledgeable about their own rights and to react in cases of violations.


Kynan Tegar
 Kygan Tegar, 16, is a filmmaker and photographer from the Dayak Iban tribe, indigenous to the Island of Borneo in Indonesia. He documents the traditions, beliefs and stories of his tribe in his films and pictures with the aim to pass them down to the next generation. He raises awareness globally about the knowledge his community has regarding the forest and how to manage it. In 2019, he travelled to the UN in New York with other members of his community to accept the Equator Prize for their efforts. There, he learnt that his tribe’s fight belongs to a larger global movement for indigenous land rights. Since then, he has been advocating for land ownership of indigenous communities, promoting the impact they could have in protecting forests and mitigating climate change.


[1] UNICEF, Mapping the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2016).




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United States of America