Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations to introduce the Group of Friends for Children and Sustainable Development Goals at the Stocktaking Session of Post-2015 Development Agenda New York,(19 January 2015)


I congratulate you on your appointment as facilitators of this process. You are the most experienced and skillful leaders who would guide the member states in giving a definitive shape to the post-2015 development agenda.

I am taking the floor to announce that more than thirty states have formed a Group of Friends for Children and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Group of Friends will be an informal group. Membership of the Group of Friends is open to member states.

The Group of Friends will be an advocacy platform for a cross-regional coalition of member states that would champion the rights children and issues related to them during the upcoming negotiations on the new SDG framework and the framework for financing for development.

The purpose is to create space to coordinate advocacy and engagement in a strategic way.

The Group has the following objectives:

The Open Working Group last year put the children, youth and future generations of the world at the centre of the post-2015 development agenda. In all the goals - ending poverty, health, education, sustainable energy, equality, growth children are a cross-cutting priority. The Secretary General's Synthesis Report puts it so compellingly: "Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion young people and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda will be a key factor for success."

The post-2015 Development agenda is about future; and the future belongs to children more than any one else. Investment in children is not just smart economics but smart politics and a moral obligation.

A world fit for children is surely a world fit for everyone.

The Group, therefore, considers it very essential that children remain at the very centre of the post 2015 development agenda, and that child-related issues are addressed in an integrated and comprehensive manner across all goals and targets.


Goal One, Two, Three and Four of the SDGs Report are of direct consequence to children. The dream of ending new-born-and-under-five mortality must be realized within the next fifteen years. This would require eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, ending child malnutrition and controlling communicable diseases affecting children, such as HIV, malaria, polio and water-borne diseases. Universal completion of primary and secondary education, with equal access for boys and girls is of critical importance. Goal Five addresses gender disparity and child, early and forced marriage. Goal Six on access to safe drinking water and hygiene will help in the realization of Goal Three. Finally, the issue of violence against children has been addressed in Goal Sixteen. All the targets relating to children are closely linked and cannot be realized in isolation.


The Group of Friends strongly supports the inclusion of all child-related targets in the final document of the post 2015 development agenda. The Declaration of the Post 2015 Development Agenda should include a suitable reference to the needs and interests of children.

More importantly, the Group would like to stress the need for including sufficient and credible Means of Implementation for the timely achievement of the child-related targets. In this context, the Group urges all member states to highlight the needs of children in the forthcoming Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa and to make investment in children a strategic basis for sustainable development and the post 2015 Development Agenda.

In this endeavor, our natural and strongest partner will be UNICEF. We would need its technical advice on sectoral and cross-cutting issues related to children.

We appeal to you, Co-Facilitators, and member states to listen to voice of this Group most attentively.