Report on the protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


In its resolution 37/20 the Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to contribute to the work of the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) on the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, in particular by providing comprehensive inputs from a child rights perspective to the yearly thematic reviews of progress at the forum. The present report provides child rights input to the HLPF in relation to the 2021 review theme: "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development". 


Beyond a health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a child rights crisis with devastating consequences. Its fallout and the measures to contain it have deeply affected children, especially those who are the most marginalized and discriminated against. Children are being exposed to or experiencing violence, pushed into labour, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking. Yet their access to the services they urgently need – health care, social protection, education, and child protection – has been disrupted due to COVID-19 at the time that they are needed the most. Combined with the overlapping crises of inequality, environmental degradation and climate change, the situation poses an immediate threat to all of children’s rights, including to survival and development, and to future generations. Responding to children’s rights and needs, especially in their early years when it counts the most, is a guaranteed way to achieve transformative, sustainable development and prevent cycles of inequality and deprivation from repeating across generations. Children in all countries should feel secure in the knowledge that they have a future on a planet that is protected. They have the right to participate and have demonstrated that they can play a leading role in defining a better world. The task ahead requires urgently identifying and reaching the children being left behind, and placing their rights and best interests at the heart of all decisions, investments and actions to build back.  

Inputs received 

The report was prepared on the basis of broad consultation with member States, UN entities including UNICEF, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, National Human Rights Institutions and civil society. Through this process a total of 59 submissions were received. In addition, an extensive process was undertaken to gather children’s own inputs, through a partnership with the network organization Child Rights Connect and its members. Focus groups were held with 449 children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old from 25 countries across all regions of the world, and direct virtual dialogues were held with 30 children from 15 different countries. The children who participated shared their views on how their rights should be protected and fulfilled through the SDGs, their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ideas on how governments can build back better. 

Submissions by Member States 

Submissions by UN bodies and other international entities 

Submissions by civil society organizations