Twenty years following the landmark 1992 World Summit on Sustainable Development, world leaders gathered once more in Rio De Janeiro in 2012 to renew their dedication to sustainable development. The Rio+20 Conference re-affirmed sustainable development commitments, stated clearly in the “The Future We Want” Declaration. In 283 paragraphs, world leaders “renew [their] commitment to sustainable development ... to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations.”
World leaders “resolve[d] to take urgent action to achieve sustainable development” and emphasised the need to ”[work] together to secure the future we want for present and future generations. "Given the inevitable role future generations will play in climate change, our children must be provided opportunities to understand, interpret and share their views on how the challenge should be tackled. The “Voices of Future Generations” initiative aims to provide a platform for children to do so.
Clubs, governments, schools and people like you started 700+ partnerships and mobilised over $515 billion. The future we want exists in the hearts and minds of our current and future leaders, and in the hands of us all.
To discover more about the UN's work on sustainable development, see the UN Division on Sustainable Development website.
All children are holders of important human rights. Twenty-five years ago in 1989, over a hundred countries agreed a UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the most important human rights treaty in history, they promised to protect and promote all children’s equal rights, which areconnected and equally important.
In the 54 Articles of the Convention, countries make solemn promises to defend children’s needs and dreams. They recognise the role of children in realising their rights, being heard and involved in decisions. Especially, Article 24 and Article 27 defend children’s rights to safe drinking water, good food, a clean and safe environment, health, quality of life. And Article 29 recognises children’s rights to education that develops personality, talents and potential, respecting human rights and the natural environment.
The “Voices of Future Generations” series is inspired by the rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, namely Article 12 and 13, which affirm children’s right to participation and expression. Especially, given the nature of challenges such as climate change, which will disproportionately affect future generations, ensuring children’s participation and voice is of utmost importance.
Article 12 of the Convention makes a strong, open, call for children’s participation: State Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
The Convention continues in Article 13, declaring that: The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.
The convention is available here.
To discover more about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, see the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights' website.
On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals ?
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive safe, resilient and sustainable.
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development