The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a new opportunity to address the key development challenges of our time with the aim to improve the well-being and rights of all people while protecting the natural environment. Children are important agents and beneficiaries in this process: many children are not only among the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change, they are also the generation that will reach adulthood during the realization of the 2030 Agenda. To create the sustainable, long-term transformation ambitiously laid out in Agenda 2030, new transformative approaches to policy must be implemented and applied to children and youth—approaches that target the underlying generative framework of social injustice as opposed to implementing affirmative remedies that simply seek to alleviate the symptoms.
The objective of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework to help assess the transformative potential of policies – particularly with regard to their impact on children and youth – and how these are meaningfully integrated and represented in decision-making processes. It will shed light on the policy space for transformative change by analysing a range of relevant factors which present both challenges and opportunities for fostering child rights and well-being through the implementation
of Agenda 2030. The paper then applies the framework to a selection of policy areas that are of high relevance for child development, such as social policy and care policy assessing necessary means of implementation such as resource mobilization and governance systems and looking at economic and environmental impacts in a cross-cutting way. The aim is to stretch boundaries and invite new thinking on how to grasp the numerous opportunities offered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to approach development challenges holistically and from a child-centred perspective. This
involves integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and fostering cross-sectoral approaches.
At the time of their collaboration, Katja Hujo
was Senior Research Coordinator at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and Maggie Carter
was a Research Analyst at UNRISD.