Global action on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Implementing child rights in the 21st century.
In 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood.
It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world.
But still not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Still, too many childhoods are cut short.
It is up to our generation to demand that leaders from government, business and communities fulfil their commitments and take action for child rights now, once and for all. They must commit to making sure every child, has every right.
On the 30th anniversary of the Convention, Member States were invited to renew their commitment to the full implementation of the Convention – implementing child rights in the 21st century.
30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
A global pledge: For every child, every right
Should your government wish to express alignment to this pledge, we ask that your Government Mission to the United Nations kindly send written confirmation of this to UNICEF at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the lives of millions of children have been improved through its implementation and the progressive realization of children’s rights as enshrined within the Convention and its Optional Protocols. It is a moment for bold action to ensure we leave no child behind, and to support every child to reach their full potential.
Children across the world have been recognized as individual rights-holders of those rights inherent to the human dignity of all people. Children have equally been recognized as having the right to special protections and safeguards from those that constitute the duty-bearers in their lives and communities.
The year 2019 is an important one as we celebrate this momentous anniversary and the great progress that has been made in the advancement of children’s rights to date. It is also a critical year for accelerating the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development, when Heads of State and Government will meet at the UN High-Level Political Forum convened during the opening of the 74th General Assembly to discuss progress and challenges in our efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national, regional and global levels.
The Convention and the SDGs go hand in hand. While the Convention highlights the timeless and indispensable international standards for ensuring the realization of the rights of every child, the SDGs articulate a contemporary vision for sustainable social, economic and environmental progress that can be achieved when all people, including children, work together for our peaceful, prosperous and secure future. In sum, children’s rights cannot be realized without the successful implementation of the SDGs and vice versa and therefore, the Convention has never been more relevant than it is today in reaching those children who are so often disadvantaged, excluded, and marginalized.
We recognize that the 21st century has brought forth new challenges in the form of, inter alia, climate change, rapid urbanization, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, protracted conflict and humanitarian crises, forced displacement, digitalization and mass connectivity and multi-dimensional and inter-generational poverty with a profound impact on children’s rights and well-being. It also brings new opportunities, including through the advancement of science, technology and innovation, for our renewed collective and concerted action with, and for, the 21st century child.
Children are our greatest assets for a peaceful, just, inclusive and prosperous world, today and tomorrow, and recognizing the pressing need and urgency to accelerate progress and intensify action, and in recognition of the growing adolescent cohort:
[W]e make this pledge directly to children themselves all around the world: for every child, every right, and our collective action today to reach this goal.
We hereby reaffirm our steadfast commitment to upholding and protecting the rights and principles enshrined within the Convention, and to identifying and taking concrete, actionable and time-bound steps towards its full implementation, including within the context of our national implementation of the SDGs and through policies, laws and budgets in our respective national contexts. We note the importance of including genuine children’s perspectives in the development and assessment of strategies and programmes that are designed to realize their rights and meet their specific and evolving needs.
We pledge our full respect for the guiding principles of the Convention: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in all actions concerning children; the child’s inherent right to life, survival and development; and the child’s right to express his or her views freely in all matters affecting the child, with those views being given due weight.
In furthering full implementation of the Convention we stand determined to implement meaningful child-centred policies, to further good governance, enhance investments and allocate the necessary resources for the advancement of children’s rights, and to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships, including with civil society, for this purpose.
We emphasize the importance of Member States working collectively though reinforced partnership and coordination, and together with children themselves, at all ages and including adolescents, as agents of positive change in the promotion, protection and monitoring of their own rights for current and future generations, including in peace and reconciliation processes. We pledge to further reach and build the capacity of children in this regard, particularly those in the most vulnerable situations, including those affected by humanitarian crises, those from the most deprived and marginalized communities, and in pursuit of sustained gender equality.
We note that we cannot advance the protection and promotion of children’s rights in a void of knowledge. To this end we stress the need for improved and coordinated, timely, reliable and disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data and information collection and analysis, and the importance of evidence-based and data-driven decision-making and innovation in progressing the rights of children. We also note the importance of investing in systems and tools to better track progress and provide comparable data on the well-being of children.
Finally, in recognizing a renewed opportunity in 2019 to increase action and results for children though local, national and global action, we make this pledge directly to children themselves all around the world: for every child, every right, and our collective action today to reach this goal.
Member States and/or State Parties to the Convention supporting the global pledge*:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Côte d'Ivoire
- Dominican Republic
- Lao People's Democratic Republic
- Federated States of Micronesia
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- Republic of Korea
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom
- Viet Nam
* Member States and/or State Parties to the Convention support the global pledge in their national capacities.
Want to do more? UN Member States can:
- Publicly announce new and/or improved laws, policies or programmes that support the fulfillment of child rights and support child well-being in your country. See the guide on national commitments for the Convention on the Rights of the Child at 30;
- Renew their commitment to the Convention by responding to the call of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to pledge to take one specific and measurable action for the promotion, protection and realization of the rights of the child;
- Organize a multi-stakeholder national summit or event on children’s rights with the participation of children and adolescents;
- Convene a parliamentary dialogue/debate on linking child rights and the SDGs;
- Include children and adolescent voices in both your implementation of and follow-up and review on the SDGs (e.g. Voluntary National Reviews);
- Institute national education programmes that enhance learning about child rights, the SDGs and global citizenship. See The World’s Largest Lesson.