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Operationalising Leave No One Behind: Guidance for UN Country Team and Member States

Stephanie Guha, June 2019


Leave no one behind (LNOB) represents the unequivocal commitment of all United Nations Member States to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination and exclusion, and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and of humanity as a whole.


UNSDG Operational Guide (interim draft)

In this context, an inter-agency task team under the auspices of the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) has prepared an operational guide for UN Country Teams and other UN staff members who support Member States in implementing LNOB in their development planning.

Specifically, the 2019 interim draft provides a framework for:

  • Operationalizing the LNOB pledge to leave no one behind using a step-by-step approach

  • Adapting and employing relevant tools from across the UN System to assess who is left behind and why; sequencing & prioritizing solutions; tracking and monitoring progress; and ensuring follow-up and review

  •  Integrating this methodology into UN programming and policy support for Member States


The guide is intended to be an adaptive and living document, updated regularly based on experience, lessons from case studies and new insights.

Click here to access the interim draft 2019»


UNDP Discussion Paper and Framework for Implementation

In addition, in 2018, UNDP published a framework for implementation that governments and stakeholders can use to act on their "endeavour to reach the furthest behind first" in a way that enables and accelerates progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper also seeks to inform the manner in which UNDP works with countries to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Five factors are proposed as key to understanding who is being left behind and why: (1) discrimination; (2) place of residence; (3) socio-economic status; (4) governance; and (5) vulnerability to shocks.

The factors can be applied using a three-pronged approach: (1) to examine the disadvantages people face in and across the five factors; (2) to empower those who are being left behind [or who are at risk of being left behind]; and (3) to enact inclusive, far-sighted and progressive SDG policies.

See here to access the discussion paper for further details»