Every Child is protected from Violence and Exploitation: UNICEF’s Sustainable Development Goal Area 3

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequality and build more peaceful, prosperous societies by 2030. Also known as the Global Goals, the SDGs are a call to action to create a world where no one is left behind.

Following our coverage of Goal Area 1 and Goal Area 2 reports, we are now highlighting the major talking points of the Goal Area 3 report:

Goal Area 3 aims to ensure that every girl and boy is protected from violence and exploitation. Two years into the implementation of the UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021, Goal Area 3 had progress rates of over 90 percent for two of the three result areas. Progress was slowest in the result area on access to justice, specifically on legal aid and birth registration.  UNICEF worked in over 150 countries in 2019 in its efforts to protect children against violence.

Every child is protected from violence and exploitation

In 2019, UNICEF fought to safeguard children from abuse and exploitation in more than 150 countries. With health and social work, 17% more children faced violence.

Strengthening child protection systems to reduce violence against children

Some figures from this chapter:

  • 3 million Mothers, fathers, and caregivers reached through parenting programs in 79 countries (+10%)
  • 7 million children who have experienced violence reached by services in 115 countries (+17%)

Accelerating national progress to reduce all forms of violence

In 2019, UNICEF stepped up efforts in 141 countries to scale up evidence-based violence prevention programs and institutionalize response services for child victims of violence, a 5% increase over the countries reporting in 2018.

Strengthening information management systems

Integrated Information Management Systems are a vital component of upgrading child safety systems, according to UNICEF. Case management, incident monitoring, and program monitoring are three types of data that UNICEF and partners maintain.

Child protection in humanitarian action

In 74 humanitarian crises, UNICEF offered protection to millions of children impacted by armed conflict, natural disasters, and public health emergencies. UNICEF sparked a global conversation around mental health and psychosocial well-being.

Some highlights:

  • 7 million children are provided with community-based mental health and psychosocial support in 60 countries.
  • 75 million children on the move received protective services in 61 countries.
  • 3 million women and children reached with gender-based violence interventions in 46 countries.

Delivery of protection services to reduce harmful practices

Despite a dramatic decrease in recent years, the general rate of child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) remains high. Progress must be considerably increased to eradicate harmful behaviors by 2030 (SDG 5.3).

-Child marriage

UNICEF and partners helped 58 countries from all over the world adopt rights-based programs to eliminate child marriage. While both boys and girls marry as children, girls marry at a rate six times greater than boys. UNICEF-supported programming reached approximately 5.7 million teenage females with preventative and care interventions.

-Female Genital Mutilation

UNICEF has made significant contributions to the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) in 21 countries where FGM programs are being conducted. UNICEF is striving to improve interventions such as the establishment of girls’ and women’s agencies, community surveillance, and opportunities for young people to promote the abolition of FGM in their countries and communities.

Promoting access to justice for children

128 countries reported progress on implementing interventions to improve children’s access to justice. This is a 44 percent increase over previous years. Strengthening justice systems for children contributes to ending violence against children and harmful practices.

– Improving birth registration

UNICEF helped 80 countries upgrade their civil registration and vital statistics systems, with Eastern and Southern Africa accounting for more than half (51%) of the total. In comparison to the previous year, the number of children reached in 2019 increased significantly.

The Outlook

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing the world’s worst global health disaster in modern history. Children and women would suffer severe and long-term consequences as a result of the pandemic’s devastating socioeconomic effects, including their care, protection, and well-being. Goal Area 3 programming must be agile, adaptable, innovative, scalable, and adaptive as we move forward, according to UNICEF.

This coverage by the Broken Chalk foundation is an excerpt from UNICEF’s official report site. For further details and the full report please visit the page

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