Current Status + Progress
Children are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development charts an ambitious course for the coming decade and beyond. Understanding the situation of children in relation to the SDGs is crucial both for the wellbeing of children and for reaching the targets of the global goals. While there is no goal that exclusively addresses the needs of children, most SDG goals and targets are either directly or indirectly related to children. The world cannot and will not reach most goals unless the specific needs of children are monitored and addressed throughout the course of the 2030 Agenda.


The 17 Global Goals of the 2030 Agenda address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Attached to the goals are 169 targets, which lay out the specific aims towards which the global community is working. In total, 95 of the targets are either directly (48) or indirectly (47) connected to children. Of those relevant to children, over half lack sufficient data.

Underlying the entire agenda is a commitment by United Nations Member States to tackle inequalities and to leave no one behind. But the SDGs can only deliver on the promise of equity if the world knows which children and families are thriving and which are being left behind – both at the launch of the Agenda and throughout its implementation. This commitment is especially crucial for ensuring that the most disadvantaged children and families benefit from the Agenda in the years to come.

This recognition is built directly into the Goals themselves: Goal 17, focused on the means of implementing the Agenda, includes an explicit target on supporting countries to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and disaggregated data. The global framework for SDG monitoring calls for indicators to be disaggregated wherever relevant to direct government investments, shape service delivery and policy and, ultimately, fulfil the rights of every child.


UNICEF is mandated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to work with Member States in monitoring the progressive realization of child rights. It is active in more than 190 countries and supports governments and development partners in every region to collect, analyse and use data to inform policies and programmes designed to save lives and help children realize their full potential.

For the past 70 years, UNICEF has played a leading role in calling for more and better data on the situation of children. The CRC mandates Member States to monitor the progressive realization of child rights. Over the past three decades, UNICEF has established extensive global databases of indicators relating to the well-being of children. In collaboration with other child-focused agencies, the organization has pioneered the development of new indicators and methods for the collection of data through household surveys and administrative data sources. It has also played a leading role in the development of international standards for data quality and estimation methods recommended by Inter-Agency and Expert Groups. UNICEF has established mechanisms for compiling and verifying data at country, regional and international levels and is responsible for providing estimates to the United Nations Statistics Division on a wide range of child-related indicators.

For the purpose of global SDG monitoring, UNICEF will be lead custodian for 10 global SDG indicators and co-custodian for a further 7 indicators, and will work closely with other international agencies to support the production of a number of additional child-related global SDG indicators. UNICEF also supports countries to collect, analyse and use a wide range of other child-related indicators, including through the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and administrative reporting mechanisms, which may be suitable for national, regional and thematic reporting on children in the SDG period.