For much of the 20th century, violence against children was not a global development priority. This changed in 1989 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), establishing a legal imperative to prevent child maltreatment. Even then, the elimination of sexual violence against children did not feature prominently until the UN adopted its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 priorities—and more than 200 indicators—underpinning the global development agenda for 2015-30.

The UN SDG target 16.2 pinpoints ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking, torture and all forms of violence against children by 2030.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDGs build on decades of work by countries and the UN, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Today, the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides substantive support and capacity-building for the SDGs and their related thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), partnerships and Small Island Developing States. DSDG plays a key role in the evaluation of UN systemwide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and on advocacy and outreach activities relating to the SDGs. In order to make the 2030 Agenda a reality, broad ownership of the SDGs must translate into a strong commitment by all stakeholders to implement the global goals. DSDG aims to help facilitate this engagement.