Kailash Satyarthi named UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate

“Indian Nobel Peace Laureate uniquely placed to promote the SDGs,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Indian Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi as a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Satyarthi’s appointment announced Friday comes during a critical year, the UN International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, when the world tragically saw the first rise in child labour in two decades.

Read: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi launches children’s rights campaign in Bangladesh (April 5, 2017)

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his lifetime of struggle against the exploitation of children and young people and for the right of all children to education in 2014.

“As a pioneer and leader of the global movement to end child slavery and to protect the rights of children to quality education, Mr. Satyarthi is uniquely placed to promote the SDGs, thus bringing them to the forefront of global attention,” Guterres stated.

“I applaud Mr. Satyarthi’s unwavering commitment to give voice to children around the world,” he said. “It is imperative that we come together, collaborate, build partnerships, and support one another in accelerating global action towards the SDGs.”

The UN Secretary General’s SDG Advocates are 17 strong public figures who can use their voices and platforms to bring to life the vision of a better world and call for increased ambition and scalable action in the pursuit of achieving all the SGDs by 2030.

With160 million now in child labour, and millions more at risk due to the impacts of Covid-19, this increase derails the world’s promise to eliminate child labour by 2025 as committed to in UN SDG 8.7 putting the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at risk.

Read: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi feted at Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis (June 9, 2016)

“On behalf of the children of the world, I am honored to accept this appointment,” stated Kailash Satyarthi who has worked for four decades to build a global movement to advance children’s rights and eliminate child labour.

“In the four years prior to the pandemic, 10,000 additional children between the ages of 5 and 11 became child laborers every day. This increase took place during the first four years of the UN SDGs and is an unjustifiable development that is an early warning to the potential failure of the 2030 Agenda,” he noted.

“The children who are in child labour are not in school, have limited or no access to healthcare and water and sanitation, remain in a cycle of abject poverty and face intergenerational racial and social discrimination,” Satyarthi said.

“With 160 million children in child labour globally, and millions more vulnerable due to the pandemic, this appointment is an acknowledgement of the current crisis we are facing and its far-reaching implications on the overall 2030 Agenda,” Satyarthi continued.

“We have the knowledge. We have the resources,” he said. “It is the political will that is required to ensure all children have the financial resources, policies and social protection required to end the exploitation of children everywhere.”

“Global development can be inclusive and sustainable only if the present and future generations are free, safe, healthy and educated,”
Satyarthi added.

Read: Kailash Satyarthi: Nobel means recognition of children’s rights issue (February 15, 2015)

Satyarthi’s appointment is seen as an acknowledgement of his leadership and moral authority as also a recognition of the central role that the elimination of child labour, slavery and trafficking plays towards the achievement of the UN SDGs.

Through his organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan, he has directly rescued more than 100,000 children from child labour, slavery, trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

Read: UN appoints Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi Sustainable Development Goals advocate to push child rights issues (September 17, 2021)

The Global March Against Child Labour, which he led, galvanized support in 103 countries resulting in the adoption of ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Form of Child Labour, which in 2020, it became the only universally ratified convention in the history of the ILO.

He and the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation are leading the global Fair Share to End Child Labour Campaign, to address the inequality, injustice and discrimination that lie at the core of child labour.

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