The SDG Summit must unlock new financing and raise ambition with and for children

2023-09-14

Children today are growing up facing multiple, overlapping crises like we’ve never seen before. Across the world, 183 million children face the triple threat of high climate risk, poverty and conflict. A world still reeling from the human and economic impacts of a global pandemic now faces a hunger crisis the size and severity of which has not been seen before – at least 153 million children are facing food insecurity globally.

The human development progress we have made is in peril. The cost of inaction has become too great, and children are paying the price.

In 2015, world leaders made 17 promises to children through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet half-way to the 2030 deadline, delivery is unforgivably off-track.

Analysis by Save the Children shows that unless the current rate of progress rapidly accelerates, by 2030:

  • 3.16m of the 942m children born will not survive to celebrate their 5th birthday
  • Malnutrition will leave more than 1 in 5 babies stunted.
  • 2 in 5 children who start school will not be able to read and understand a simple sentence by age 10.
  • 67m of the 414m girls who should be finishing primary school will marry as children.
  • 2.6 billion – 4 in 5 – children will have experienced at least one extreme climate event including flooding, drought and heatwaves.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Sustainable Development Goals provide the best blueprint the world has for charting a way out of this moment of crisis and tackling the pressures of increasingly frequent climate disasters, conflict, global inequality and hunger. But children are rapidly losing trust in leaders. Governments must win back that trust, by standing in solidarity with children and taking action with urgency to meet the challenges children will confront in their lifetimes.

The SDG Summit must be a gamechanger. Save the Children is calling on governments to:

  1. Announce clear plans to accelerate progress with and for children. Children’s rights and views must be at the centre of efforts and supported by real action. To do this governments must announce clear, time-bound, costed and fully funded plans to deliver the SDGs that include measures to enable safe, full, meaningful and inclusive child participation.
  2. Unlock new financing and fiscal space for implementation by making the global financial system work for everyone, including through multilateral cooperation and solidarity in line with the letter and spirit of SDG17 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. World leaders must deliver and scale up financial commitments on official development assistance and climate finance (inc. for loss & damage), strengthen global tax and debt systems and policies to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share and ensure lower-income countries are able to invest in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals and building climate resilience.
  3. Protecting and increasing investments in children. This means more and better funding for safety nets, essential health, nutrition, education and child protection services, and policies. These investments will help build a more stable world where children can not only cope during tough times but also reach their full potential and thrive.

At this year's SDG Summit, Save the Children is calling on world leaders to listen and stand in solidarity with children. The world does not have a moment to lose.

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