A total of 176 member organisations of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, from 46 different countries, co-signed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General stressing that a strong target on child, early and forced marriage must be included in the final set of Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is currently writing a synthesis report bringing together all the different inputs he has received regarding what a new plan to reduce global poverty and boost global development might look like when the Millennium Development Goals come to an end in 2015.
The ‘post-2015 framework’ is likely to influence development priorities for governments and donors for the next 15 years, driving funding, attention and programming on a range of global issues. Ban Ki-moon’s report is set to be highly influential and will serve to frame the next round of state negotiations in the creation of the post-2015 framework.
Earlier this year, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, a group comprising of 70 Member States from the UN’s 5 regional groups, proposed a target to end child, early and forced marriage. This target, however, is far from guaranteed.
It is critical, therefore, that the Secretary-General emphasises in his upcoming report that ending child, early and forced marriage must be comprehensively and strategically addressed in the post-2015 development framework.
In their joint letter, Girls Not Brides members wrote:
“Ending child, early and forced marriage is a concrete and measurable target that will contribute significantly to the achievement of gender equality while also accelerating efforts to achieve a safe, healthy and prosperous future for all.
“We encourage you to make clear in your report that the final development framework for the coming 15 years should mandate that programmes to end child, early and forced marriage be instigated and prioritised by all member states if we are to achieve the next set of global development objectives.”
As the deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals approaches, it will be crucial to advocate at national, regional and international levels to ensure that governments include child marriage in the post-2015 development agenda and recognise its links with a range of development issues.
In the time it has taken to read this article 23 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds