The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes 17 Goals (SDGs) and several associated targets relating to children’s rights, including: target 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children; target 5.3 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation; and target 8.7 which calls for immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. These targets all fall within the Council of Europe’s mandate and reflect its norms and standards.
For more than a decade, the Council of Europe has been actively engaged in the eradication of all forms of violence against children at pan-European level, in particular through the adoption and promotion of the Lanzarote Convention, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and its Strategies for the Rights of the Child. The current strategy (2016-2021) stipulates its mission clearly as contributing to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development building on the Council of Europe standards, intergovernmental platforms and monitoring bodies.
In 2019, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will host the first detailed review of target 16.2. In the margins of the UN General Assembly in 2019, a high-level meeting will be held to review progress achieved in the implementation of the SDGs, including Goal 16. 2019 will also mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Parliamentary Assembly should seize this unique opportunity to accelerate progress towards building a world free from violence for every child and discuss how the Council of Europe can best contribute to achieving this goal.