The Global Goals lay out a powerful and ambitious vision of the world we want to see in 2030. To deliver that vision, the Goals need to deliver for girls, one of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in the world but also powerful agents for change in their own families, communities, and countries.
Progress must come quicker
To attain the Goals by 2030, we could expect to have moved at least 10% closer in the year and a half since they were signed. But we know that in reality rates of progress are nowhere near that fast – for example, a study from the Overseas Development Institute* showed that we need to reduce child marriage 8 times faster than current rates to reach the Global Goal of eliminating child marriage.
We have played a key role in consultations linking girls and young women with decision-makers.
The numbers and needs are stark, and they inspired Plan International’s new commitment to ensure that 100 million girls learn, lead, decide, and thrive over the next 5 years. A crucial step to achieve this is to secure national policy, law, and practice change so that national commitments reflect the global ambition for girls and their rights within the Goals.
We’ve started by focusing on 16 key countries** where specific factors were in place, including prevalence of girls’ rights violations, government commitment to the Global Goals, and space for organisations to engage constructively with government on girls’ rights.
Our work has had exciting early results, and the first step in all cases has been engagement with allies who share our commitment to girls’ rights – including girls and their families – to identify what the Global Goals mean for different countries and societies.
Many governments have hosted such discussions on the Global Goals with civil society, donors and the private sector.
Celebrating early successes
In Malawi, efforts combining local young campaigners, high-level political engagement and international petitions have succeeded in getting child marriage outlawed.
Youth advocates can provide insights on the realities faced by people living in poverty.
In Egypt, we’ve worked with female parliamentarians to promote an open dialogue on how to promote the needs and rights of vulnerable girls and young women, including refugees, in line with Global Goals 5 and 16 (promoting peace and justice) in particular.
In Brazil, where gender-based violence is a significant issue, we have played a key role in consultations linking girls and young women with government decision-makers in a variety of states. Via those consultations, using research and youth advocacy we have worked to change minds at various levels of government, culminating in a successful resolution on gender equality passed by the National Council of the Rights of Children and Adolescents.
“It will mean politicians across the entire government will have to take into account data around gender inequality when forming new policies and consider how girls will benefit,” says Flavio Debique, advocacy manager at Plan International Brazil.
Applying pressure on policymakers
In other countries, progress is slower as governments lack the political will, capacity or funding to address the Global Goals in their entirety. Plan International and the youth advocates we work with can apply pressure to this process, pushing for governments to do more whilst providing insights on the realities faced by people living in poverty.
Critical to this approach is the need to help individuals and communities to advocate for the Global Goals themselves. Knowing the promises that their governments have made at global level can be a powerful tool to keep up the momentum and pressure. Girls themselves are powerful voices and agents of change in this process, raising awareness amongst their peers, neighbours and communities, working together to achieve change.
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** Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, The Philippines, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.