How We Advocate at the United Nations

Plan International youth advocate
Plan International youth advocate interviewed at Congress on historic child marriage ban.


Plan International influences governments and the United Nations (UN) agenda on children’s rights issues, with a particular focus on girls and young women who are too often rendered invisible. One reason that progress on girls’ rights has been too slow is that international law and policy tend to be gender- and age-neutral. We promote and enhance girls’ rights in key processes and policy debates at the UN to influence the outcomes of those discussions, bringing our expertise from working in over 75 countries to international decision- and policy-making spaces. This includes advocating at the UN Economic and Social Council, General Assembly, and Security Council in New York and the Human Rights Council, Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva.

We also work to ensure that the specific rights and needs of girls in crisis are addressed by advocating with Permanent Missions of Member States, including members of the UN Security Council, UNHCR, other UN agencies, and humanitarian actors, to include an age, gender and diversity lens.  By working to influence laws, policies, and practice at all levels, Plan International advocates for girls to be addressed as a unique demographic. 


Today’s hostile political climate has led to a push back against human rights, threatening progress achieved over the last two decades on children’s rights and gender equality for girls. UN human rights mechanisms are being undermined, and conservative groups are calling into question the long-agreed concepts of human rights, equality, dignity, and non-discrimination. Holding governments to account for their commitments to uphold human rights is more critical than ever, not only to advance human rights but to protect the progress already achieved.

Plan International works to ensure that States respect, protect and fulfill their international human rights obligations and commitments to existing standards on children’s rights and gender equality. We use the international system to ensure that every State respects, protects and fulfills the rights of all children and young people by:

  • Providing evidence-based information on children’s rights and gender equality;
  • Tracking individual countries’ progress against their obligations and commitments in international human rights law and other key international agreements; 
  • Actively engaging in the monitoring, reporting, and follow-up processes of the 2030 Agenda, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council.

Across all of our work, we are committed to bringing the voices of adolescent girls and young women into the UN space. At all stages of their lives, girls continue to face a double burden of discrimination based on both their age and gender, and are faced with distinct disadvantages as a direct result. We facilitate their participation in events and one-on-one meetings with UN and government representatives, so they have the opportunity to directly influence the decisions that affect their lives.