Justice for Children, Justice for All : The Challenge to Achieve SDG16+: [A Background Challenge Paper for the Task Force on Justice]

Jennifer Davidson, Susan Elsley, Miriana Giraldi, Andrew Goudie, Kristen Hope, Annette Lyth, Benoit Van Keirsbilck

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Roughly 1 in 3 people across the globe is a child. Yet, while the sustainable development agenda pledges to leave no one behind, there is a stark gap when it comes to measuring, understanding, and - most critically - fulfilling this global ambition for children. We must strive to ensure that, in our collective efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we leave no child behind. Children are distinct from adults, and have specific needs, rights and capacities. Responding differently to children in the light of this distinctiveness, including engaging them as agents of change, is essential for the successful delivery of these global goals, for people of all ages. In 2015, the SDGs, agreed by all nations, set out an ambitious vision to achieve justice for all by 2030. They provide global coherence and momentum for realising children’s human rights, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other key international instruments, to ensure children experience the full benefits of justice. The SDG 16 seeks to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Five years on, while significant progress has been made to conceptualise and quantify the different aspects of justice, and to monitor progress, it is apparent that one specific group has remained largely invisible: children. Consequently, unless particular attention is directed to children, as a global community we will fail to achieve the bold aim of leaving no one behind. This Challenge Paper underpins a Call to Action to fulfil our collective global commitment to ensure that all children live peaceful, just and inclusive lives, and are provided with the opportunity to flourish and live to their full potential.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages54
ISBN (Print)9781909522541
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • justice, children's rights, sustainable development goals
  • sustainable development
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • human rights
  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)


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