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As child workers rise to 160 million, Kailash Satyarthi named new UN SDG advocate

By Our Representative 

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, appointed Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Laureate, as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) advocate, a role that is integral to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The appointment 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. With 160 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 and therefore puts the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at risk.
The appointment acknowledges the leadership and moral authority Satyarthi brings with his four decades of work building a global movement to advance children’s rights and eliminate child labour and slavery. It is also a recognition of the central role that the elimination of child labour, slavery and trafficking plays towards the achievement of the UN SDGs.
“On behalf of the children of the world, I am honoured to accept this appointment,” stated Kailash Satyarthi. “In the four years prior to the pandemic, 10,000 additional children between the ages of 5 and 11 became child labourers 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.”
“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”, he added.
“As a pioneer and leader of the global movement to end child slavery and to protect the rights of children to quality education, Satyarthi is uniquely placed to promote the SDGs, thus bringing them to the forefront of global attention,” stated UN Secretary-General Guterres.
“I applaud Satyarthi’s unwavering commitment to give voice to children around the world. 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.
“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. 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.”

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