Giving Compass' Take:

• Beh Lih Yi reports that child marriage rates have been falling, but they are not on track to reach the UN SDG goal of zero child marriages by 2030. 

• What have interventions have proven effective? Why have some areas seen more progress than others? 

• Learn why child marriages are on the ruse in Syria

Some 12 million girls a year are married before the age of 18 with often devastating consequences for their health and education, and ending the practice by 2030 is among the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Rates have fallen in recent years, but advocate Lakshmi Sundaram said "a complete sea change" was needed as new drivers such as climate change and rising conflicts threatened to undermine progress.

"What we do need to see is a real step up from governments and donors ... It's their duty to protect their citizens and the girls," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

About 25 million early marriages have been prevented in the last decade, the United Nations' children agency UNICEF says.

The biggest decline was in South Asia, where the risk of a girl marrying before her 18th birthday has fallen from 50% to 30%, according to UNICEF.

"The key drivers of child marriage are not only poverty and a lack of access to education, but also prevailing gender and socio-cultural norms," said Sivananthi Thanenthiran, executive director of the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women.

Improving gender equality would help stop the practice, she added.

Read the full article about child marriage SDG targets by Beh Lih Yi at Global Citizen.