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Five years into the pledge to ‘Leave no one behind’ – Looking back and forward​

January 2021 Selina BezzolaJunior Programme Officer, Embassy of Switzerland in the Kyrgyz Republic

Five years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the central pledge to “Leave no one behind" (LNOB) is more relevant than ever. The COVID 19 pandemic has stalled global progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including ending extreme poverty by 2030. Inequality is rising and hard-won gains in poverty reduction are being reversed, in rich and poor countries alike.

A new report by the Overseas Development Institute discusses the interpretation of the LNOB principle to date and proposes ways to advance the agenda.

The report notes that while international consensus formed the concept of LNOB, there has been little consensus since 2015 on investing in resources to guide and facilitate it. While the take-up of LNOB has been generally high among international actors, bilateral donors and civil society organisations, less effort has been made by countries to implement and prioritise the LNOB agenda in domestic policies. The report therefore proposes a dedicated section in the VNR (Voluntary National Reviews) that requires countries to identify those left behind in their contexts and indicate measures taken to meet the needs of these groups.​

The ODI report further presents ways to generate LNOB profiles from currently available data in middle-income countries. The focus lies on key SDG indicators such as monetary and multidimensional poverty (SDG1), stunting (SDG2), child mortality (SDG3), school attendance, attainment and literacy (SDG4) and income inequality (SDG10). The results show that it is crucial to consider the overlap in group-based differences, as belonging to more than one disadvantaged group can amplify poverty-related outcomes.

The report concludes with a number of recommendations, including advocating for ​progressive universalism, anti-discrimination measures and recognising intersectionalities, as well as embedding LNOB concerns in national and international policy processes.

Read the full report here​»