Children’s Rights from a Sustainability Perspective: The UNCRC in Dialogue with Agenda 2030

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Childhood and Youth Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 18801

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Educational Sciences, University of Gävle, Gävle 801 76, Sweden
Interests: child rights; equity policy and practice; school violence; bullying and cyberbullying; gender-based violence; policy research
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Guest Editor
School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane City, QLD 4000, Australia
Interests: child rights; wellbeing; education; voice; inclusion; participation; qualitative child-centred participatory research methodologies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In times of uncertainty and unpredictability, with war conflicts, climate catastrophes, austerity, and antimigration policies, there is a need to focus on how children are affected, and the extent to which sustainability policies and practices pay attention to the best interests of the child.

Tensions between localised agendas and global imperatives lead to much variability in the way sustainability issues impacting children’s lives are put into focus. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (also referred to as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) “provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” (United Nations, 2015). While the connection between children’s human rights and the aims of Agenda 2030 have already been clearly mapped and established (see UNICEF 2016), their realisation in research and practice remains underdeveloped.

At the same time, developing sustainability is related to competence in embedding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at all levels. ESD needs to be understood in its broadest sense as including “… improving quality basic education, reorienting education to address sustainability, improving public awareness, and providing training to many sectors of society” (UNESCO 2005:11). In this way, the importance of education is further emphasised beyond a goal in itself and, like rights, education is integral to SDG realisation.

This Special Issue seeks contributions that engage with, explore, and critically reflect upon the theoretical, practical, methodological, ethical, and/or philosophical tensions associated with children’s rights and sustainability. Specifically, the issue seeks to engage with how wider societal issues and pressures impact children and what the ways forward are in education and as a research community to ensure children’s best inputs and interests are at the centre in all matters affecting children. We especially welcome papers that engage with the complexities, possibilities, and challenges relating to children’s rights in dialogue with the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Possible foci may include (but are not limited to):

  • Tensions between Agenda 2030 goals and positioning of children;
  • Children’s lived experiences of local and global issues relevant to sustainability;
  • Provision of rights compatible sustainability education by teachers and in schools;
  • Impacts and role of student driven initiatives (e.g., Strike for Climate);
  • The ‘glocalisation’ of rights education under a sustainability mandate.

Prof. Dr. Guadalupe Francia
Dr. Jenna Gillett-Swan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • child rights
  • sustainability
  • education
  • SDGs

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

23 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Unaccompanied Migrant Children’s Rights: A Prerequisite for the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals in Spain and Sweden
by Guadalupe Francia, Adrián Neubauer and Silvia Edling
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(6), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10060185 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4087
Abstract
Starting from a child rights-based approach to sustainable development, this contribution underlines and compares the discourses in selected Spanish and Swedish migration and education policies on the rights of unaccompanied minors to education and discusses their impact on the enactment of the 2030 [...] Read more.
Starting from a child rights-based approach to sustainable development, this contribution underlines and compares the discourses in selected Spanish and Swedish migration and education policies on the rights of unaccompanied minors to education and discusses their impact on the enactment of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals in both countries. Based on critical discourse analysis, this research shows the co-existence of two different discourses: one on unaccompanied minors as global rights holders and the other on unaccompanied minors as foreign citizens. By describing unaccompanied migrant minors as citizens rather than children, international migration agreements make it possible for the Spanish and Swedish governments to deprioritize other international agreements on refugees’ rights, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, as child rights and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing, the negotiation of rights shows that there are obstacles to accomplishing rights-based Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the 2030 Agenda. Full article
22 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
Integrating Sustainable Development and Children’s Rights: A Case Study on Wales
by Rhian Croke, Helen Dale, Ally Dunhill, Arwyn Roberts, Malvika Unnithan and Jane Williams
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030100 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 6582
Abstract
The global disconnect between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), has been described as ‘a missed opportunity’. Since devolution, the Welsh Government has actively pursued a ‘sustainable development’ and a ‘children’s rights’ agenda. However, [...] Read more.
The global disconnect between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), has been described as ‘a missed opportunity’. Since devolution, the Welsh Government has actively pursued a ‘sustainable development’ and a ‘children’s rights’ agenda. However, until recently, these separate agendas also did not contribute to each other, although they culminated in two radical and innovative pieces of legislation; the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure (2013) and the Well-being and Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015). This article offers a case study that draws upon the SDGs and the CRC and considers how recent guidance to Welsh public bodies for implementation attempts to contribute to a more integrated approach. It suggests that successful integration requires recognition of the importance of including children in deliberative processes, using both formal mechanisms, such as local authority youth forums, pupil councils and a national youth parliament, and informal mechanisms, such as child-led research, that enable children to initiate and influence sustainable change. Full article
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13 pages, 428 KiB  
Article
Education for Sustainable Development and Children’s Involvement in Public Spaces. From Universalism to Places, from Rights to Capabilities: Some Evidence from a Research Project on the Regeneration of Public Spaces in Milan
by Stefano Pippa, Stefano Malatesta, Cristina De Michele and Elisabetta Biffi
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030088 - 3 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3265
Abstract
The United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) expanded the epistemological and methodological debate on sustainability and education. Currently, ESD encompasses a broad spectrum of socio-political issues (including global citizenship and social justice), while “place-bonding” is seen as key to fostering [...] Read more.
The United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) expanded the epistemological and methodological debate on sustainability and education. Currently, ESD encompasses a broad spectrum of socio-political issues (including global citizenship and social justice), while “place-bonding” is seen as key to fostering citizen advocacy in local communities and enhancing “children’s lived experiences of local issues”. Herein, we emphasize both the political and the pedagogical value of this perspective, arguing that ESD bears the potential to overcome “universal vs. individual” tensions and dichotomies. Our line of reasoning is that the “capabilities approach” (CA), although it did not originally focus on children, can offer a useful theoretical framework in support of ESD, thanks to its multidimensional nature and focus on the concrete agency of individuals. Accordingly, we see the CA as playing a key role in bridging the gap between universal prescriptions, which disregard the specificity of the actors involved, as well as the peculiar nature of their social environment and its context-specific needs or constraints. We supplement this theoretical discussion by presenting “The Flying Carpet”, an ongoing community-based education project that has elicited the active involvement of over one hundred 11–13 year old students in an urban regeneration project in a municipal district of Milan. Full article
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9 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Intercultural Education and Sustainable Development. A Crucial Nexus for Contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
by Marco Catarci
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10010024 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3270
Abstract
Over the last few years, research in the educational field has conducted specific and broad analysis of intercultural education, with a solid theoretical basis and an advanced body of empirical research. However, the link between an intercultural approach and the theme of sustainable [...] Read more.
Over the last few years, research in the educational field has conducted specific and broad analysis of intercultural education, with a solid theoretical basis and an advanced body of empirical research. However, the link between an intercultural approach and the theme of sustainable development, which has recently become an important aspect of international educational policies, remains less explored. The publication of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the definition of the goals for the millennium has made it necessary to deepen this link. The article aims to expand on the connection between intercultural education and sustainable development, highlighting the potential for the intercultural approach to contribute to reaching the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. An intercultural perspective is key to achieving the aims of ensuring quality education, combating exclusion and gaining a perspective of conscious and critical global citizenship. Full article
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