UNDESA: Leaving none behind requires the transformation of deeply rooted systems — economic, social and political, governance structures and business models at all levels, from local to global.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has inclusion at its core, that speaks to the notion of empowerment and the principle of non-discrimination (UNDESA, 2016) To achieve this objective, the countries need to identify those who are deprived or risk to be deprived from full participation in the benefits of development, risk being pushed further behind by a variety of forces, including globalization, technological advances, the negative impacts of climate change and other forms of environmental degradation. These groups are: women, children, youth,  persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, ethnic and racial minorities, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants. Their voices must be heard, and their active participation as agents of change needs to be promoted. 

It argues that leave none behind was promoted to frame the SDG inequality agenda as inclusive development, focusing on the exclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups from social opportunities, deflecting attention from the core issues of distribution of income and wealth, and the challenge of ‘extreme inequality’. The term is adequately vague so as to accommodate wide ranging interpretations. Through a content analysis of LNOB in 43 VNRs, the paper finds that the majority of country strategies identify LNOB as priority to the very poor, and identify it with a strategy for social protection. This narrow interpretation does not respond to the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for transformative change, and the principles of human rights approaches laid out.


By Katsiaryna Serada



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