On 25th September 2015, the world leaders from 193 Member countries finally adopted the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development at the United Nations General Assembly. Secretary – General of UN, Ban Ki-moon has hailed them as universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.
These Global Goals also called as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15 year agenda to tackle some of the gravest socio-economic issues of the world, however it excluded any language on child labour, slavery and trafficking then.
Through extensive and continuous efforts since the year 2000, Global March Against Child Labour network, led by (now) Honorary President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, has now been able to ensure that “child labour, modern slavery and human trafficking” are included in the SDGs. It is indeed a great success for us, our esteemed partners and the entire network, which for years has fought for a child-friendly and inclusive framework that places ending exploitation of children and promoting their right to education at the fore, and that which can assist in setting domestic political policies and development targets for next 15 years. We welcome these goals with great pride, hope and stronger determination.
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi in his address at the SDG Summit in New York on 26th September, 2015, has made a strong call to the world leaders to give priority to child-related Sustainable Development Goals in their national legislations, warning that the international community will "fail" to accomplish most of the goals if child labour and violence against children continues. He further added that “a sustainable economy and society can never be built on the foundation of slavery. Today, we have framed a will for a better future. What matters is the will in the words, not the words in the will.”
Now that the goals have been adopted, a major challenge that lies ahead is their implementation both at the national and regional levels. Also, vital now is that the governments fully invest in education, health and protection of children. Furthermore, with the new vision in sight, this is the best opportunity for the civil societies, faith organisations and businesses to build genuine innovative partnerships to make child slavery a history, and take rigorous actions to eliminate child labour in business supply chains.
Global March Against Child Labour participated in the SDG Summit and is committed to work with each and every stakeholder to contribute to the implementation of goals and targets on child labour, trafficking, slavery, education and violence against children at country, sub-regional and regional levels.